Medical Mutual - Health Plans for Life

Patient Safety

Medical Mutual believes that the safety of hospitalized members is an important measure of healthcare quality. Safety while hospitalized is best achieved when the hospital, physician, health plan, and patient work as a team.

The release of the 1999 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System, spurred a heightened awareness of patient safety issues. The report contained alarming statistics regarding the safety of patients in American hospitals, including an estimate that as many as 98,000 Americans die each year as a result of medical errors.

Following the release of the IOM report, a coalition of employers formed The Leapfrog Group. Leapfrog's goal is to improve the safety of hospitalized patients through the implementation of various initiatives including Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE), Intensive Care Unit (ICU) physician staffing, High Risk Treatments and the Leapfrog Safe Practices Score. In 2007, they enhanced their initiatives by asking hospitals to institute their policy on Serious Reportable Events (or "never events"). Never events, as defined by the National Quality Forum, are occurrences that should never happen; for instance, surgery on the wrong body part or death due to contaminated drugs or devices. Details of these and other Leapfrog initiatives are available on their website at www.leapfroggroup.org. We encourage all hospitals to report their progress toward meeting the Leapfrog safety standards by completing the Leapfrog survey offered on this site.

While the Leapfrog initiatives have shown to be effective in improving patient safety, Medical Mutual recognizes that many hospitals are successfully improving safety through very effective internally developed programs and initiatives, and we applaud your efforts. In 2007, Leapfrog implemented a "Transparency Indicator" to give hospitals the opportunity to identify other patient safety and quality reporting initiatives in which they participate in order to provide consumers and purchasers access to even more data about a hospital's quality and safety.

Because patients play an important role in maintaining safety while hospitalized, Medical Mutual educates our members on various safety-related topics, such as medication safety.

Medical Mutual looks forward to working with you to improve the safety of our hospitalized patients.

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