Government-Supported Group Advocates Federal Reach into Doctor's Office

The National Academy of Sciences, a private organization created by the federal government in 1863, receives 85% of its funding from federal agencies. Citing two studies, which report annual medical mistakes of either 44,000 or 98,000, it recommends that Congress create a federal Center for Patient Safety to set national goals for reducing medical errors, track progress in meeting them, invest in research, and act as an objective clearinghouse.
This Center, which could eventually cost $100 million a year, sounds quite similar to the bureaucratic National Health Board proposed in the Clinton Plan. In addition, the Academy recommends that a nationwide mandatory public reporting system be established. All doctors and hospitals would report medical mistakes to the government. The definition of "medical mistake" remains unclear and must be clarified to verify the large difference between numbers of mistakes cited.
Noticeably absent in the report is any acknowledgement that managed care guidelines, understaffing, clinic patient quotas, paperwork requirements, or lack of time with patients might cause more than a few errors.