Cutler Introduces Legislation to Improve Patient Safety
5/7/2009
Measure would reduce medical errors and save hospitals and patients money
 
In an effort to improve the quality, accuracy and safety of Pennsylvania’s health care system, Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom) announced the introduction of legislation that would create a grant program for health care providers to implement medical safety automation systems.
 
“Medical safety automation systems will help to ensure that patients are getting the correct treatments and medications, increase the speed and accuracy of care, and will save money for patients and providers,” said Cutler. “We have talked about encouraging providers to implement this technology, and my bill will provide assistance for them to do so.”
 
Cutler’s legislation would use federal stimulus funding to create a grant program for health care providers and regional health information organizations to purchase the technology, prepare for its implementation, and train physicians and staff to use it.
 
The legislation would require providers seeking grants through this program to comply with the Federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, including interoperability standards. The Pennsylvania Department of Health would determine the formula for awarding grant money and would maintain the program.
 
“Information technology can aid us tremendously by bringing the right information to the right place at the right time. By using the electronic medical record, clinicians can have all the information at hand to make critical medical decisions,” said Gary Davidson, senior vice president and chief information officer for Lancaster General.        
 
Medical safety automation systems, also referred to as health information technology or electronic medical records, assist physicians in the coordination of medical care. Patients often see many physicians in the course of their treatment, and this technology helps doctors maintain communication and synchronize care. It would also benefit people who find themselves in an emergency medical situation away from home.
 
“With different paper medical records at primary and specialty physicians’ offices, it is exceedingly difficult to coordinate care.  There may be additional or more specific diagnoses, medications or allergies listed in those paper charts.  By collaborating in an electronic record, a patient only has ONE chart and physicians update a single problem list, a single medication list and a single allergy list.  As a result, when a patient presents to ANY physician’s office, their complete health information is instantly available for all caregivers.  This helps nurses and physicians to deliver safer, coordinated, quality care.” said Michael Ripchinski, M.D., physician informatics liaison at Lancaster General.
 
Cutler’s legislation was developed in concert with the House Republican Policy Committee’s Health Care Task Force, which is developing legislation to help ensure the affordability and accessibility of quality health care in Pennsylvania. For more information regarding the task force, visit www.pahousegop.com.
 
Rep. Bryan Cutler
100th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
(717) 786-4551
(717) 783-6424
Contact: Nicole Wamsley
(717) 783-8063
Member Site: RepCutler.com
Caucus Site: PAHouseGOP.com