The Institute of Medicine has estimated that between 44,000 and 98,000 people die each year in hospitals as a result of medical errors. I supported the passage of legislation, the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act, that is designed to reduce the incidence of these errors. This law establishes a new national system for voluntarily reporting events that may adversely affect patient safety and authorizes grant programs to improve the quality of patient care. As I monitor its implementation, I will also continue to watch for future opportunities to improve patient safety and prevent medical mistakes.
Health Care Disparities
The health of our nation is enhanced when we work to promote health care equality and access for everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity. So that we may begin to close the health care divide, I have long supported legislation that would expand the health care safety net, combat diseases that disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minorities, and help to ensure that our public health workforce reflects, understands, and respects the diversity of the people it serves.
Modernize Our Health Care System
Health information technology (IT) helps to reduce medical errors, improve patient safety, and control rising health care costs. Despite the benefits of health IT, utilization rates remain low. I support efforts to give health care providers the assistance they need to invest in health IT so we may improve patient care while protecting patients’ privacy and reducing costs.