CCHC's Reaction to Governor Pawlenty's SOTS Address...and Today's MDH Adverse Events Report

Mpls./St.Paul, Minnesota -- Twila Brase, president of Citizens' Council on Health Care, makes the following statements on Governor Tim Pawlenty's State of the State Address, and the 2007 Adverse Events Report released today by the Minnesota Department of Health:


"What the Governor sees as good government, the public may see as Big Government.

"First, he mentioned the proposed Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange, but he didn't say that he'd require all individual policies to be purchased through it. This is not a market-based idea. All individual purchasers would have to engage in a new bureaucratic process that would also eliminate their privacy of insurance purchase.

"Second, the governor's plan does not appear to include informed and voluntary consent for government access to patient data to monitor performance of citizens and practitioners. The governor did not mention consent in his speech or list it in his January 11 proposal.

"Without patient consent requirements, the governor's plan to build interoperable electronic medical records will likely facilitate ongoing outside access to and sharing of private patient data, intrude on citizen and patient privacy, and expand government interference in the patient-doctor relationship.


"Adverse events reporting sounds good, but any reporting activity diverts health care dollars and staff time from patient care to paperwork. Hospitals should be spending less time and money reporting errors than making sure they never happen.

"There must be great care taken in interpretation of this report. Studies have shown that there is disagreement over how to define a medical error. In 2005, at the press conference releasing the first report, the state health commissioner admitted she could not say for certain that the 20 deaths reported in the 2005 report were actually due to medical errors.

"The report numbers should be kept in perspective. There were only 2 deaths in 422,629 surgeries - that's four one-thousandth of the cases. In addition, a 'serious disability' is not what most people think it is. It can be short-term, and need not be permanent."

MDH REPORT: click here

Media Contact:

Twila Brase, President
Phone: 651-646-8935 (office)