Federal Government Issues Patient Safety Act Guidance for PSOs; Texas Hospitals Invited to Join THA PSO

From the May 26, 2016 issue of the Health Care Advocate.

(May 26, 2016) -- This week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued guidance to clarify what qualifies as “Patient Safety Work Product” under its final rule implementing the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005. The guidance also articulates how health care providers can satisfy both the rule and external reporting or recordkeeping obligations.

The new guidance reiterates the definition of PSWP included in both the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act and the implementing rule: “The definition of PSWP sets forth three basic ways that certain information can become PSWP:

  1. the information is prepared by a provider for reporting to a Patient Safety Organization and it is reported to the PSO;
  2. the information is developed by a PSO for the conduct of patient safety activities; or
  3. the information identifies or constitutes the deliberations or analysis of, or identifies the fact of reporting pursuant to, a patient safety evaluation system."

Specifically excluded from the definition of PSWP is “a patient’s medical record, billing and discharge information, or any other original patient or provider information” and “information that is collected, maintained, or developed separately, or exists separately, from a patient safety evaluation system.”

The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act provides legal and confidentiality protections for PSWP, including information that health care providers report to PSOs to improve quality and patient safety. The new guidance clarifies, however, that the law does not preclude patients’ rights to their own data. In addition, the intent of PSOs is to protect the additional information created through voluntary patient safety activities, not to protect records created through providers’ mandatory information collection activities, such as adverse event reporting systems.

The Texas Hospital Association has relaunched its PSO and is inviting all member hospitals to join. The THA PSO offers:

  • Collaborative safe table meetings that allow discussion of best practices, patient safety errors and protocols for future prevention. This non-disclosable environment provides participants a meaningful experience to learn from each other and improve care for all patients.
  • Streamlined data submissions from participating hospitals through a new and improved submission portal. Through the use of de-identified data, hospitals will be able to benchmark performance against other similar hospitals.
  • A peer advisory council made up of participating hospital leaders to prioritize metrics, guide education topics such as data collection and provide direction.

THA will host two free webinars on June 8 and June 15 to provide information about the benefits of participating in a PSO, components of the program, participation guidelines and how to join. Registration is required and may be completed online.

Contact Cyndy Dunlap at the Texas Hospital Association at 512/540-8457 with questions about the THA PSO.