Medical negligence (malpractice) and liability laws were reformed in Pennsylvania by the Medical Care Availability & Reduction of Error Fund, which is within The Department of Health of the Commonwealth. One of the Department’s functions is to review and approve patient safety plans contained in Mcare’s section 307. Other responsibilities include receiving and investigating severe incidents (events), failures in infrastructure, medical procedures and approvals. We will explain what a patient safety plan is, how they are reported, and why they are an important part of Mcare.
Pennsylvania Patient Safety Plans
In order to remain in proper compliance, healthcare facilities must create, implement, and adhere to a patient safety plan that is designed to assist with overall well-being and health of patients. These plans must contain the following:
- Name an officer responsible for patient safety that executes the following:
- Is a member of the committee (group) for patient safety
- Assumes responsibility for the investigation of severe incidents (events)
- Execute immediate action as needed amid an investigation to protect safety of a patient(s)
- Inform the committee for patient safety of investigative actions
- Implement a committee for patient safety that consists of:
- The officer for patient safety
- A minimum of three staff members at the facility including someone from nursing
- Two residents who reside at the healthcare facility (not workers, employees, contractors etc.)
- Implement a procedure for reporting severe incidents or events that is available 24 hours a day
- Contain a provision prohibiting any retaliation against someone who reports a severe incident or event (Whistleblower)
- Provide means of notifying patients in writing
- Implement a requirement that the committee for patient safety meet on a monthly basis
Implementation & Reporting
Medical facilities have a 60-day period to present their safety plan to the Department. The Department has a 60-day period to approve or reject the submission. After receiving approval, the facility must make all staff aware of the plan and require that all employees are compliant. If a worker believes that a severe incident has happened, they are to report the event as indicated in the plan within 24 hours.
Once the facility receives this information, they have a duty to make the patient involved aware within a period of seven days. If the patient is unable to be notified, then an adult that is an immediate family member must be made aware of the event. Providing this notification within the seven day period is merely procedural and does not serve as an admission of guilt, liability, medical malpractice etc. Medical facilities may take disciplinary action against staff for failing to report incidents or doing so falsely.