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Maybe, just maybe, hospital medication errors will be reduced soon. Congress has tied Medicare reimbursements to a hospital’s adoption of new quality standards related to medications.

Congress Passes Legislation to Prevent Medication Errors

U.S. Senators Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar today announced that the Senate passed legislation late last night that includes steps to prevent hospital medication errors similar to recommendations in a bill introduced by the Indiana Senators on Wednesday.

“The Institute of Medicine has estimated that medication errors injure at least 1.5 million Americans annually and cost our health care system more than $3.5 billion per year. While addressing the problem of medication errors will require a multi-faceted approach, this is a vital first step,” said Senator Lugar. “The adoption of this measure will encourage hospitals to develop safety measures designed to prevent medication errors, which in turn will save lives.”

The bill passed by both the Senate and the House requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop quality standards, including medication safety measures, that the Secretary determines will improve hospital quality. Hospitals that do not disclose whether they have adopted the new standards will be penalized by receiving reduced Medicare reimbursements.

Source: Indiana Senators Evan Bayh and Richard Lugar

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