Most consumers believe they should have the right to know of potential hazards when making important decisions about a service – including services as important as their medical care. Unfortunately for patients in Pennsylvania, not all information about the quality of care at state medical facilities is readily available or accessible. This is because the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, the agency which keeps stats on medical errors and related issues throughout the state, doesn’t allow patients to know the full details behind medical errors, including those resulting in injury or death.
The Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Act, which became law in 2002, requires certain information regarding medical errors be kept confidential. Why? Officials state that by maintaining confidentiality and the Patient Safety Authority’s non-punitive stance, more medical facilities are willing to self-report information about “near-misses” and errors. The focus, officials claim, is to promote safety improvement rather than fear.