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Welcome to Vegas Lawyer. This site is for people who were hurt in Nevada. Contact us for a free consultation. You may want to read the Las Vegas Personal Injury Law introduction on our home page. Also, you can get an overview of other claims like Wrongful Death, Auto Accidents, Slip & Fall, and Products Liability before you explore the Article below.

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Medical Errors Danger

Prepared Statement of The Honorable Billy Tauzin Subcommittee on Health May 8, 2002

Thank you, Mr. Chairman for holding this important hearing to discuss medical errors.

Patient safety is, and should always be, an important concern for our committee. Government policies should always promote and encourage Americaís companies to produce products and services that reduce the incidents of consumer harm or error. This is not only sound public policy, but good business sense. Competition drives innovation, and it is this impetus that has made America the world leader in new solutions to help people live longer and better.

Two years ago, the House Commerce Committee held a joint hearing with the Committee on Veterans Affairs to focus on the problem of medical errors. This hearing followed the release of the Institute of Medicineís November 1999 report, To Err Is Human. In that report, the IOM estimated that at least 44,000 Americans die each year as a result of medical errors, and that the number may be as high as 98,000. If accurate, medical errors cause a greater number of deaths than motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS. Even more alarming, we may or may not be properly accounting for all of the medical errors that occur on a minute-to-minute basis or taking the appropriate steps to reduce their occurrence.

Human error is, by definition, unavoidable. We may not be able to achieve perfection, but we must strive to ensure that when a medical error occurs, the harm it causes to a patient is minimized. Today, we have an outstanding panel of witnesses who understand clearly that patient safety is the bottom line for their businesses. They represent companies which have a broad range of approaches to addressing the medical error problem. What is most exciting is that these witnesses represent merely a glimpse of some of the incredible collaborative efforts underway within the health care community that are creating new technologies and improving the delivery of services for patient safety.

Today, we have an opportunity to learn from the witnesses about the steps their businesses and non-profit organizations have taken since the publication of the IOM report. Though the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine were numerous, they certainly gave both the public and private sector a clear starting point for some serious discussion of how to comprehensively achieve better patient safety. Three of our five witnesses represent organizations that originally testified before this committee two years ago. I am most interested to hear from you all about the advances that have been made since then.

The federal government is an important player in our efforts to improve patient safety. Our public policies directly affect the ability of the private sector to conduct their business. The federal government currently maintains and operates numerous reporting systems and databases to help track medical errors and prevent their reoccurrence. The federal government also champions research to evaluate and determine the options available to address health care improvement. We must constantly examine these programs to enhance their efficiency and ensure that we are not trampling on the private sectorís ability to innovate. The private sector represents our best opportunity to reduce the occurrence of medical error. We should ensure that any legislation we advance emphasizes that point.

Today, I would also like to take a moment to recognize a true leader in this field, John Eisenberg, former Director of the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality who recently passed away. His tireless determination and dedication to this issue will be sorely missed.

Thank you, again, Mr. Chairman for holding this hearing. Itís nice to take a break--albeit temporarily--from our work on Medicare and focus on another important issue. We have so many priorities at this Committee. Iím excited that we are addressing such an important issue.

This information came from a
US House online article.

*** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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