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Collaboration with Regulators to Support Quality and Accountability Following Medical Errors: The Communication and Resolution Program Certification Pilot

Objective: Communication and resolution programs (CRPs) involve institutions responding to adverse events using transparency with patients, event analysis, recurrence prevention, and compensation. Collaboration with regulators around CRPs could enhance health care quality.

Setting and Participants: Health care institutions, liability insurers, and the Medical Quality Assurance Commission (MQAC, board of medicine) in Washington State.

Study Design: MQAC has collaborated with the Foundation for Health Care Quality (FHCQ) on the CRP Certification pilot. A panel of physicians, risk managers, and patient advocates at FHCQ will review cases for use of the CRP key elements. Cases meeting this standard will be “CRP Certified.” If MQAC determines that the CRP enhanced patient safety comparable or better than board action, the Commission may close the case.

Principal Findings: Developing this process identified the following issues: (1) protecting information submitted for CRP Certification; (2) determining what information the Commission needs to assess whether additional investigation is warranted; (3) preserving the Commission's responsibility to protect the public while working with health care organizations; and (4) addressing concerns that CRP Certification not shield incompetent providers.

Conclusions: The CRP Certification program is a promising example of collaboration among institutions, insurers, and regulators to promote patient-centered accountability and learning following adverse events.

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