This morning, President Bush will be signing into law the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005, which passed the House on Wednesday. The bill encourages doctors and other medical workers to disclose medical errors confidentially--allowing patient safety organizations to analyze the data and work toward safety improvement but keeping the information legally removed from our friends in the trial bar. Senate Majority Bill Frist, himself a surgeon, noted, "If you have a mistake that is made, you need to be able to share it with people so you can develop systems to prevent those mistakes from happening in the future. In hospitals there's a tendency not to do that because if you share your mistake there will be a predatory trial lawyer."
The full text of the bill is here (PDF). The American Medical Association has a brief explanation of its terms here. My colleague Bob Goldberg, director of the Manhattan Institute's Center for Medical Progress, will be attending the signing ceremony.