American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®

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Policy briefs

From the September ACP Observer, copyright © 2004 by the American College of Physicians.

ACP applauds Senate passage of patient safety act

The College voiced its approval of the recent Senate passage of a bill that would create a confidential, voluntary error reporting system.

The "Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2003" (S. 720/H.R. 663) calls for a reporting system that physicians and other providers would use to report error information to patient safety organizations. Those organizations would collect and analyze the data to develop safety improvement strategies.

Senate passage of the bill paves the way for reconciling the Senate bill with a similar one passed in the House last year. In a College press release, College President Charles K. Francis, FACP, said the bill "strikes the appropriate balance" between legal protections and accountability.

The press release is online.

College urges Congress to regulate tobacco products

ACP is urging members of Congress to support a bill that would give the FDA authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing and sale of tobacco products.

In a letter sent in July, the College joined close to 50 medical societies and consumer advocacy groups in asking members of Congress to support the Davis-Waxman Bill (H.R. 4433). If passed, the bill would mandate the disclosure of the contents of tobacco products and of tobacco industry research, as well as the use of larger health warnings on tobacco product packages.

The letter is online.

The College has also joined more than 60 other national organizations in calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to cover tobacco cessation counseling for Medicare beneficiaries.

In a letter sent in July to the CMS, the College noted that tobacco cessation counseling has been proven effective in clinical trials.

The letter also said that beginning in 2006, Medicare will cover FDA-approved prescription cessation aids including nicotine patches and inhalers. With such devices covered under Medicare, the letter noted, cessation counseling by health care providers could be even more effective.

ACP's letter is online

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