Washington State Department of Health to investigate lack of reported medical errors

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

October 14, 2009

Washington is one of the only states in the nation to require mandatory reporting of medical errors. Since the law was enacted in 2006, however, only 52% of hospitals have reported any adverse events, and a total of 548 reports have been received, reports the Seattle P-I.

Experts estimate that thousands of reports should have been filed in that time. The Department of Health (DOH) is currently investigating why so few reports have been filed. However, the "check-ins" will be nonpunitive. The DOH does have the ability to take action against facilities who fail to report adverse events, but have not done so thus far.

State legislators want to add to the current law to make the penalties for hospitals not reporting adverse events more severe. Many requirements of the 2006 law, such as the creation of a Web site and annual reports to the legislature have not been met because of underfunding.

To read more from the Seattle P-I, click here.