George Breen Quoted in Article, “Many Unanswered Questions About Reporting System”

Health Risk Management

George Breen, a Member of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences and the Litigation practices, in the Washington, DC, office, was quoted in an article titled, "Many Unanswered Questions About Reporting System."

Following is an excerpt:

There are a number of unanswered questions about the proposed patient report system for medical errors, and one of the most important is how the data would be used, says George Breen.

As proposed, it is unclear whether the data could be released in response to a subpoena of a Freedom of Information Act request, he notes.

Breen also questions the AHRQ's plan to solicit patient comments through kiosks in hospitals.

"If I were a hospital, I'd have a real concern with these kiosks set up in my place of work," he says. "It almost sends the message that you're going to be subjected to a medical error if you come to this hospital, and here's a convenient way to report it. I don't think that's the impression that you want to leave. You wouldn't want a plaintiff's malpractice lawyer advertising in the lobby of your hospital, and this sends the same kind of message." ?...

"Promoting patient safety is certainly a good idea, but I don't know that this is how you actually get there," Breen says. "We don't know how a hospital can interact with this government system that may make inquiries after a patient report. Can you expect that the information is protected, or do you need to speak as if everything you say can be used in court? Do you need to have a whole structure in place for responding to these inquiries?"