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70.56.010  <<  70.56.020 >>   70.56.030

RCW 70.56.020

Notification of adverse health events — Notification and report required — Rules.

(1) The legislature intends to establish an adverse health events and incident notification and reporting system that is designed to facilitate quality improvement in the health care system, improve patient safety, assist the public in making informed health care choices, and decrease medical errors in a nonpunitive manner. The notification and reporting system shall not be designed to punish errors by health care practitioners or health care facility employees.

     (2) When a medical facility confirms that an adverse event has occurred, it shall submit to the department of health:

     (a) Notification of the event, with the date, type of adverse event, and any additional contextual information the facility chooses to provide, within forty-eight hours; and

     (b) A report regarding the event within forty-five days.

     The notification and report shall be submitted to the department using the internet-based system established under RCW 70.56.040(2) if the system is operational.

     (c) A medical facility may amend the notification or report within sixty days of the submission.

     (3) The notification and report shall be filed in a format specified by the department after consultation with medical facilities and the independent entity if an independent entity has been contracted for under RCW 70.56.040(1). The format shall identify the facility, but shall not include any identifying information for any of the health care professionals, facility employees, or patients involved. This provision does not modify the duty of a hospital to make a report to the department of health or a disciplinary authority if a licensed practitioner has committed unprofessional conduct as defined in RCW 18.130.180.

     (4) As part of the report filed under subsection (2)(b) of this section, the medical facility must conduct a root cause analysis of the event, describe the corrective action plan that will be implemented consistent with the findings of the analysis, or provide an explanation of any reasons for not taking corrective action. The department shall adopt rules, in consultation with medical facilities and the independent entity if an independent entity has been contracted for under RCW 70.56.040(1), related to the form and content of the root cause analysis and corrective action plan. In developing the rules, consideration shall be given to existing standards for root cause analysis or corrective action plans adopted by the joint commission on accreditation of health facilities and other national or governmental entities.

     (5) If, in the course of investigating a complaint received from an employee of a medical facility, the department determines that the facility has not provided notification of an adverse event or undertaken efforts to investigate the occurrence of an adverse event, the department shall direct the facility to provide notification or to undertake an investigation of the event.

     (6) The protections of RCW 43.70.075 apply to notifications of adverse events that are submitted in good faith by employees of medical facilities.

[2009 c 495 § 12; 2008 c 136 § 1; 2006 c 8 § 106.]

Notes:

     Effective date -- 2009 c 495: See note following RCW 43.20.050.