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Health Care Bills Sidestep Medical Errors Issue

Health care legislation that currently sits before Congress takes only modest steps to address a problem that is far more important than inadequate medical insurance, medical error. Recent studies show that preventable medical errors kill four times as many people than lack of medical insurance. A national Hearst investigation found that up to 200,000 people per year die from medical errors and infections in the United States. A Hearst analysis shows that the three health care reform bills currently before Congress do not include key solutions that are to address medical error. The legislation does not include safety measures, despite the recommendations from the federal study “To Err Is Human.” It appears that Congress does not have a sense of urgency about medical error. “To Err is Human” recommends mandatory reporting of medical errors and systemic changes to prevent future mistake. One provision does require national reporting of hospital-acquired infections, but not medical errors. Patient safety experts say that mandatory reporting is too important to be left out of the current healthcare reform legislation. To read more about the medical malpractice legislation, please click the link.