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Understanding New Mexico medical error and incident reporting

New Mexico residents may be interested in some information on the state of patient incident reporting in the state. Some believe that these requirements are inadequate and represent the lack of an overall policy goal for patient safety. The New Mexico Administrative Code requires that several types of medical facilities report certain types of incidents, including outbreaks of contagious diseases, environmental incidents and patient abuse. However, the specific incidents that must be reported are not consistent across the three types of facilities required to report them. The facilities covered under this law include outpatient facilities, facilities for the mentally disabled and adult care facilities.

Facilities caring for vulnerable citizens through government programs such as the Disabled and Elderly Waiver and those working under the New Mexico Department of Health must report incidences of abuse. Except in cases where there is a death, these facilities are not required to report physician errors or other medical mistakes, however.

Noticeably absent from the mandatory reporting requirements are hospitals, which some organizations believe shows a lack of sufficient scope for the laws. These organizations say that the lack of rationale or consistency in the incident reporting requirements shows no overall policy goal. Additionally, physicians themselves are under no requirement to report these incidents, nor is there a patient safety agency overseeing these efforts.

Obtaining information about medical malpractice claims, therefore, is often up to the patient who was harmed if legal action is being considered. An attorney who has experience in this area may be able to assess the harm to the patient, whether from delayed diagnosis or other serious physician errors. The attorney may then be able to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the patient.

Source: Quality & Patient Safety, "– NEW MEXICO – Public and Private Policy Medical Errors and Patient Safety", August 18, 2014

Source: Quality & Patient Safety, "– NEW MEXICO – Public and Private Policy Medical Errors and Patient Safety", August 18, 2014

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