1. Mennick, Fran BSN, RN

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Federal report for patient safety. The U.S. Congress passed and on July 29 President Bush signed into law the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005, which, according to a White House statement, "requires the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a process for the voluntary and confidential reporting of medical errors to 'patient safety organizations,' which would develop ways to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors." The reports would be privileged and confidential, so that reporting agencies are shielded from adverse actions by accreditation and licensing bodies; the information also cannot be used in civil lawsuits or for criminal prosecution, except in specific circumstances. Reports would be used to track patterns of errors and develop strategies for preventing future ones.


Patient safety in Texas. Texas passed the Safe Patient Handling and Movement Practices Act, which directs hospitals and nursing homes to develop plans to minimize risks to patients and nurses caused by lifting, moving, transferring, and repositioning patients. These agencies must collaborate with nurse staffing committees to analyze risks and develop strategies to reduce them.

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Prescribing in New York. New York State will require all prescriptions, not just those for controlled substances, to be written on official state prescription forms beginning April 19, 2006. Lawmakers hope this will help reduce prescription fraud.