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Private Groups Establish a Missouri Center for Patient Safety; Center to Address Medical Errors in All Health Care Settings


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., July 1 -- The Missouri State Medical Association, the Missouri Hospital Association and Primaris, a non-profit health care consulting firm and the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for Missouri, today announced the establishment of a private patient safety center that will work to reduce mistakes in all health care settings. The Missouri Center for Patient Safety (MCPS), formed as a non-profit corporation, is expected to fill a leadership void on patient safety across the state.

“We’re focusing on developing health care delivery systems that, by design, work to prevent mistakes from happening,” said Richard A. Royer, chief executive officer at Primaris. “Most adverse events result from failures in systems, not the willful or negligent conduct of an individual. We want to encourage and assist health care organizations in adopting patient safety protocols.”

MCPS will focus on changing health care systems by applying methods and activities that have worked in other parts of the nation. Staff will also promote responsible and accountable public education activities that include participation from provider groups in each health care setting. Representatives from the three founding organizations said they expect the MCPS will become a leader in providing resources and facilitating solutions that reduce medical errors and improve patient safety. The center is expected to start work later this summer, first addressing patient safety initiatives in hospitals, nursing homes and outpatient surgery centers. It is envisioned serving as a resource for best practices, technical assistance, data analysis and professional curriculum development.

“Our vision is to help create a health care environment that’s safe for all patients, in all processes, all the time,” said Marc Smith, CEO of Missouri’s Hospital Association.

MCPS will take a non-regulatory, collaborative approach to improving health care safety, providing positive and constructive guidance that supplements current regulatory and statutory requirements for hospitals and nursing homes, and disciplinary activities of professional boards. Staff will bring providers together to develop and apply strategies that improve safety. The center might host a confidential data repository for medical errors and ’near misses" and will likely serve as the primary facilitator for patient safety education and collaboration.

“Missouri joins several states in pioneering this type of initiative,” said Bruce Van Cleave, M.D. and chairman of the MPCS board. “We’re confident these efforts will achieve real progress in making health care safer across Missouri.”

The center will also encourage individual and organizational participation through a board of advisors. “Members will represent virtually every sector of health care, providing us with a vehicle by which all Missouri health care providers serving patients across the continuum of care – from birth to end of life – work together to study and put practical improvements in place,” said C.C. Swarens, M.D. and executive vice president for MSMA.

“MHA, MSMA and Primaris have a shared vision of developing a center that promotes safer health care practices,” said Gregg Laiben, M.D., a medical director for Primaris and former chairman of a Gubernatorial commission on patient safety. “This puts in place the organizational framework to attract long-term funding from outside philanthropic groups that want to fund creative patient safety projects.”

The concept of a Missouri patient safety center was founded on recommendations from the Governor’s Commission for Patient Safety, a 17-member group charged with recommending changes to improve patient safety. During 2004, the commission met and studied all aspects of patient safety, ultimately producing a report that included recommendations for hospital policies, innovative professional training, patient education and the creation of a private safety organization.

MCPS’s Board of Directors this week launched a search for an executive director who will provide administrative oversight of the center and help secure additional private or public funding. Professionals with a background in patient safety may learn more about the position by visiting MCPS’s Web site at


Visit the Missouri Center for Patient Safety Online at

Missouri State Medical Association online:

Missouri Hospital Association online:

Primaris online:


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