The Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority was established under Act 13 of 2002, the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error ("Mcare") Act, as an independent state agency. It operates under an 11-member Board of Directors, six appointed by the Governor and four appointed by the Senate and House leadership. The eleventh member is a physician appointed by the Governor as Board Chair. Current membership includes three physicians, three attorneys, three nurses, a pharmacist and a non-healthcare worker.
The Authority is charged with taking steps to reduce and eliminate medical errors by identifying problems and recommending solutions that promote patient safety in hospitals, ambulatory surgical facilities, birthing centers and certain abortion facilities. Under Act 13 of 2002, these facilities must report what the Act defines as "Serious Events" and "Incidents" to the Authority. Under Act 52 of 2007 nursing homes must report healthcare associated infections (HAIs) to the Authority and the Department of Health. Under Act 52, hospitals must also submit HAIs through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Health Surveillance Network (NHSN).
The Authority, Department of Health and Pennsylvania Healthcare Cost Containment Council will receive HAIs through the CDC for their individual roles for analyzing the data. The Authority analyzes and evaluates all reports and makes recommendations for changes in health care practices and procedures which may be instituted to reduce the number and severity of Serious Events and Incidents in Pennsylvania's healthcare institutions. The Authority's role is non-regulatory and non-punitive and is distinguished from the role of other state agencies involved in regulating and/or licensing health care facilities or individual providers.
Consistent with Act 13 of 2002, the Authority developed the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PAPSRS, pronounced "PAY-sirs"), a confidential web-based system that both receives and analyzes reports of what the Act calls Serious Events (actual occurrences) and Incidents (so-called "near-misses"). You can learn more about PA-PSRS elsewhere on this website.
The Authority operates with a dedicated funding stream, called the Patient Safety Trust Fund, which is independent of the General Fund. Moneys in the Trust Fund come from an annual surcharge on licensing fees charged to those medical facilities that are required to report to the Authority. The total annual assessment for those surcharges cannot exceed $5 million, plus the current Consumer Price Index for subsequent years after the first year.