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WHA: Health Care Providers, Purchasers Back Walker’s Quality Improvement Act

Contact: Mary Kay Grasmick, WHA, 608-274-1820, 575-751
MADISON (January 5, 2011) —  Wisconsin health care and business leaders are joining forces to back a provision in Governor Scott Walker’s special session package that will improve the quality and value of health care in the Badger State.
The Health Care Quality Improvement Act (QIA) will put Wisconsin at the forefront of the patient safety and quality improvement movement, leading to better outcomes for patients and better health care value for employers and employees.
Under the proposal, health care providers will be able to study and improve practices and, importantly, share what they learn with others without fear of those findings being used against them in a lawsuit. These changes will bolster the work of organizations, including the state’s regulatory agencies, that work to improve patient safety and health care quality.
Wisconsin’s current “peer review” laws were largely enacted in the 1970s and have fallen far behind modern, integrated approaches to delivering health care.  The QIA will encourage broader participation in quality reviews by health care practitioners and professionals.  Walker’s legislation will also accelerate important collaborative efforts that will improve patient outcomes.
The QIA encourages this activity by:
• Strengthening, clarifying, or providing protections against the use of quality improvement investigations and conclusions.
• Protecting health care providers who openly and honestly aid regulatory agencies in their good work.
• Maintaining unintentional medical errors as a matter for civil, not criminal, courts.
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