Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Governor Proposes $7.89 Million on Patient Safety

Recently Washington Governor Chris Gregoire proposed spending millions for patient safety to move the state towards safe high quality affordable healthcare. The Governor originally started the process to improve the healthcare system by chairing a Blue Ribbon Commission to find out what is needed to make healthcare more affordable. The Commission came up with 20 initiatives to improve the safety and quality of the healthcare system to better manage chronic diseases, empower consumers with information, and expand the use of health IT.

The Governor’s proposed provisions to spend $7.89 improve patient safety were announced recently and includes:

  • $930,000 to ensure that the providers in the state are well qualified. The Governor plans to introduce legislation to strengthen the state’s standards for credentialing and disciplining healthcare providers, including support for national background checks

  • $2 million to rigorously investigate complaints against healthcare providers

  • $1.4 million to help provide real-time information to reduce medication errors. The Governor wants to see investment in a new online database to give providers and pharmacists access to all the prescription drugs that their patients are receiving
    Hospitals will be required to report adverse events to the public

  • $3 million to help hospitals train more qualified nurses to address staffing shortages

  • $560,000 to increase licensing standards for registered counselors

The state is now seeing results in providing access to high quality affordable healthcare. For example, 84,000 more children have access to health insurance, the state is ranked the 12th healthiest state, up from 15th one year ago, and more than 68,300 Washingtonians are saving 20-60% on prescription drugs by using the state’s free discount card, saving consumers $1.8 million.