Legislation addresses patient safety, malpractice

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A new bill introduced at the General Assembly will help facilities guard against employee drug theft, hold doctors to higher standards, and creates a dialogue with patients after medical accidents.

The Patient Safety Act will help reduce medical errors and health care related injuries, said Rep. Jim Riesberg (D-Greeley).

House bill 1283 is the result of months of meetings with doctors and patient safety advocates. It has been endorsed by Citizens for Patient Safety, United Cerebral Palsy of Colorado, the Colorado Medical Society and the Colorado Hospital Association.

The bill does not limit an injured patient’s ability to file a medical malpractice suit, but it makes changes that legislators hope will limit the accidents that frequently bring about the lawsuits.

Other provisions of the legislation:
- Allow doctors and hospitals to talk more freely with patients about what went wrong after an accident or other adverse medical event. If the patient decides to go to court, the information cannot be used against the doctor or the hospital.
- Creates a way for legislators to learn about non-court-based approaches to cases of adverse medical events can improve patient safety, provider accountability and fair and timely redress for injured patients.
- Makes hospitals and other health care facilities safer by giving them additional measures to guard against employee drug theft or other major crimes.