On The Docket Pending Health Care Bills Focus On Patient Safety And Quality Of Care

Nurse staffing is far from the only health issue facing lawmakers. Here’s a rundown of other health care-related bills filed by Sen. Richard Moore (D-Uxbridge), chair of the Mass. Legislature’s Committee on Health Care, for the 2003-04 session.
An Act Establishing the Clara Barton Nursing Excellence Scholarship Pro-gram would encourage students to enter the field of nursing through scholarships, a loan repayment plan, and mentoring bonuses. It would also provide grants to health care institutions and colleges to fund mentoring and internship programs.

An Act Establishing a Health Care Facility Oversight Board would employ several state agencies to create a board to study the health care system and report to the Senate and House clerks. It would also serve as a hearing board for hospitals, community health centers, and nursing homes ceasing operations or facing severe financial difficulty. The bill would also create a 15-member advisory council of experts in health and economics, including insurance plans, physicians, and consumers.

An Act Requiring Hospitals to Notify Patients of Physician Discipline would require hospitals to notify patients when a physician is disciplined or suspended. A case involving a physician who left a patient during surgery to cash a check revealed that hospitals do not have formal policies in place to notify patients when physicians are suspended or disciplined.

An Act Relative to Volunteer Physicians would require the Board of Registration of Medicine to grant or renew a qualified physician’s registration for free so the doctor can participate in the free care program operated by a non-profit organization.

An Act Relative to the Fair Appor-tionment of Damages in Civil Suits Involving the Practice of Medicine would change the law on apportionment of damages when a physician is sued for malpractice. Under current law, a physician may be held responsible for 100{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} regardless of their proportion of responsibility. This bill allows juries to consider that proportion.

An Act Creating a Special Task Force to Make an Investigation and Study on Issues Related to the Health Care Workforce would create a task force to study the issues related to the shortage of health care workers and recommend strategies for the recruitment and retention of workers.

An Act Relative to Drug Samples would set standards for the distribution of drug samples, such as the prescriber providing the patient with information about the sample, allowing a pharmacist to dispense a drug sample under physician approval, and requiring drug makers to keep records of their distribution of samples to prescribers.

An Act Ensuring the Safety and Protection of Hospital Patients would add to the current law by allowing other health care facilities to get criminal offender record information for current employees and applicants.

An Act Relative to the Safe Admin-istration of Medications and Legible Prescriptions would create a task force to develop recommendations for the reduction of medication and prescription errors, as well as develop education programs for practitioners writing prescriptions and study labeling and packaging issues.

An Act Relative to Medication Occurrence Reporting would authorize the Department of Public Health to impose a fine for failure of any registrant to report the theft or loss of a controlled substance or the unlawful administration of a drug.

An Act to Create a Nursing Home Advisory Council would create a 15-member advisory council to make recommendations on how to ensure quality of care for residents of long-term care facilities, including recommendations of appropriate staffing levels.

An Act Relative to Provide for the Payment of a One-time Bonus to Health Care Providers for the Imple-mentation of Medical Error Reduction Technology would provide one-time payments to health care institutions which institute a comprehensive computerized medication order entry system or other computerized system designed to identify, track, and prevent medical errors.

An Act Providing for Capital Outlays for the Acquisition, Upgrading, Development, and Implementation of Health Care Technology in the Commonwealth would authorize a bond issuance providing for grants and 0{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} or low-interest loans to state and local government agencies, colleges, health care providers, and other health care organizations, to be used to monitor or implement patient safety and medical error reduction systems.

An Act Establishing the Common-wealth’s Children’s Cabinet would promote better use of scarce resources and more effective coordination of services for children and families by improving communication among all of the state programs geared toward children.

An Act Establishing the Massachu-setts Health Care Cost Containment Council would create an independent state agency to provide the public with information that can be used to improve quality and restrain the costs of health care in Massachusetts.

An Act to Establish Collaborative Drug Therapy Management to Improve Pharmaceutical Care for Patients in Massachusetts would authorize pharmacists to engage in voluntary, collaborative drug therapy management practice under the supervision and direction of a physician.

An Act Providing for Performance Standards for Physicians would provide for the development of a system to review physicians’ performance — clinical, personal, and community service — every two years as a part of renewal of the license to practice medicine. Physicians judged to be deficient in the performance standards would be reviewed by the Board of Registration in Medicine and could be granted a renewal if they agree to take steps to alleviate the causes of the deficiencies.

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