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December 7, 2022

Barragán Introduces the National Patient Safety Board Act

Legislation would leverage modern technology & bring stakeholders together to work collectively to implement solutions to preventable medical harms.


December 6, 2022

Contact: Kevin McGuire


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, Representative Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) introduced legislation that would establish a new independent federal agency to reduce and prevent patient safety events in health care settings. The National Patient Safety Board (NPSB) would coordinate non-punitive patient safety improvement efforts with the Department of Health and Human Services and other relevant federal and state agencies, work with public and private partners to conduct patient safety studies and send recommendations to the agencies based on the findings of the studies. Modelled off the well-established and successful National Transportation Safety Board, the NPSB would drive non-punitive, collaborative, and technology-integrated approaches to reducing patient safety events.

“Up to 10 percent of all deaths in the United States are caused by medical errors. We must ensure that our health care system continues to make strides in improving patient safety,” said Congresswoman Barragán. “To modernize our country’s approach to patient safety, we need an independent entity that can deploy modern technology to conduct a broad evaluation of the healthcare space at the local, state, and federal level and identify ways that health systems can share experiences and insight that will make our systems of care safer for patients. This legislation is a crucial step forward for ensuring a collaborative, evidence-based, and technology-integrated approach to improving patient safety across our country’s healthcare system.”

“ERIC and our large employer member companies support the need for an independent oversight agency addressing safety in health care and avoiding health care related harms for employees and their families,” said James Gelfand, President of The ERISA Industry Committee. “We encourage Congress to take action on this legislation, to protect lives and improve patient safety.”

“We have seen many valiant efforts to reduce the problem of preventable medical error, but most of these rely on an overworked and understaffed frontline workforce. Our Coalition has united to advance a national home for patient safety to promote substantive solutions, including those that deploy modern technologies to make safety as autonomous as possible” said Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative and spokesperson for the NPSB Advocacy Coalition.

“As healthcare providers, our top priority and collective responsibility is to ensure the safety and well-being of our patients through highly reliable care that minimizes preventable harm. The establishment of a National Patient Safety Board would enable a collaborative, evidence-based and scalable solution to optimize patient safety across our country’s healthcare system,” said Peter WT Pisters, MD, president of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

The National Patient Safety Board Act would enhance the work of federal agencies and long-standing patient safety organizations without displacing them. The NPSB’s non-punitive function to study patient safety events is different than accreditation, certification, and licensure reviews and is not part of any federal or state agency’s role. The NPSB would:

  1. Identify Harm: The NPSB would identify and anticipate major sources of harm and not require additional data submission by healthcare providers.
  2. Conduct Studies: The NPSB would identify significant widespread harm and would prioritize which adverse events and patient-reported incidents require an in-depth, multi-disciplinary national study and launch a healthcare expert study team.
  3. Recommend Solutions: The NPSB would create recommendations and autonomous solutions to prevent patient safety events. The NPSB would not regulate or license but instead focus on building collaborative relationships with other government agencies and private partners to focus on solutions.

The following organizations have endorsed the bill: Jewish Healthcare Foundation, Leapfrog Group, Network for Excellence in Health Innovation, Patient Safety Movement, MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety, and Marshfield Clinic Health System

A fact sheet on the National Patient Safety Board Act can be found here.


Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington. She serves as chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Border Security, and on the House Energy and Commerce Health, Energy, and Environment & Climate Change Subcommittees.