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70.56.030  <<  70.56.040 >>   70.56.050

RCW 70.56.040

Contract with independent entity — Duties of independent entity — Establishment of notification and reporting system — Annual reports to governor, legislature.

(1) To the extent funds are appropriated specifically for this purpose, the department shall contract with a qualified, independent entity to receive notifications and reports of adverse events and incidents, and carry out the activities specified in this section. In establishing qualifications for, and choosing the independent entity, the department shall strongly consider the patient safety organization criteria included in the federal patient safety and quality improvement act of 2005, P.L. 109-41, and any regulations adopted to implement this chapter.

     (2) If an independent entity is contracted for under subsection (1) of this section, the independent entity shall:

     (a) In collaboration with the department of health, establish an internet-based system for medical facilities and the health care workers of a medical facility to submit notifications and reports of adverse events and incidents, which shall be accessible twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The system shall be a portal to report both adverse events and incidents, and notifications and reports of adverse events shall be immediately transmitted to the department. The system shall be a secure system that protects the confidentiality of personal health information and provider and facility specific information submitted in notifications and reports, including appropriate encryption and an accurate means of authenticating the identity of users of the system. When the system becomes operational, medical facilities shall submit all notifications and reports by means of the system;

     (b) Collect, analyze, and evaluate data regarding notifications and reports of adverse events and incidents, including the identification of performance indicators and patterns in frequency or severity at certain medical facilities or in certain regions of the state;

     (c) Develop recommendations for changes in health care practices and procedures, which may be instituted for the purpose of reducing the number or severity of adverse events and incidents;

     (d) Directly advise reporting medical facilities of immediate changes that can be instituted to reduce adverse events or incidents;

     (e) Issue recommendations to medical facilities on a facility-specific or on a statewide basis regarding changes, trends, and improvements in health care practices and procedures for the purpose of reducing the number and severity of adverse events or incidents. Prior to issuing recommendations, consideration shall be given to the following factors: Expectation of improved quality of care, implementation feasibility, other relevant implementation practices, and the cost impact to patients, payers, and medical facilities. Statewide recommendations shall be issued to medical facilities on a continuing basis and shall be published and posted on a publicly accessible web site. The recommendations made to medical facilities under this section shall not be considered mandatory for licensure purposes unless they are adopted by the department as rules pursuant to chapter 34.05 RCW; and

     (f) Monitor implementation of reporting systems addressing adverse events or their equivalent in other states and make recommendations to the governor and the legislature as necessary for modifications to this chapter to keep the system as nearly consistent as possible with similar systems in other states.

     (3)(a) The independent entity shall report no later than January 1, 2008, and annually thereafter in any year that an independent entity is contracted for under subsection (1) of this section to the governor and the legislature on the activities under this chapter in the preceding year. The report shall include:

     (i) The number of adverse events and incidents reported by medical facilities, in the aggregate, on a geographical basis, and a summary of actions taken by facilities in response to the adverse events or incidents;

     (ii) In the aggregate, the information derived from the data collected, including any recognized trends concerning patient safety;

     (iii) Recommendations for statutory or regulatory changes that may help improve patient safety in the state; and

     (iv) Information, presented in the aggregate, to inform and educate consumers and providers, on best practices and prevention tools that medical facilities are implementing to prevent adverse events as well as other patient safety initiatives medical facilities are undertaking to promote patient safety.

     (b) The annual report shall be made available for public inspection and shall be posted on the department's and the independent entity's web site.

     (4) The independent entity shall conduct all activities under this section in a manner that preserves the confidentiality of facilities, documents, materials, or information made confidential by RCW 70.56.050.

     (5) Medical facilities and health care workers may provide notification of incidents to the independent entity. The notification shall be filed in a format specified by the independent entity, after consultation with the department and medical facilities, and 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 or a disciplinary authority if a licensed practitioner has committed unprofessional conduct as defined in RCW 18.130.180. The protections of RCW 43.70.075 apply to notifications of incidents that are submitted in good faith by employees of medical facilities.

[2009 c 495 § 14; 2008 c 136 § 2; 2006 c 8 § 108.]

Notes:

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