Hospital: No punishment for reporting of errors

Good Samaritan Hospital (GSH) in Vincennes, IN, uses this policy to establish a "nonpunitive" environment that encourages employees to report errors:

GSH has adopted a nonpunitive approach to its management of errors and occurrences. All personnel are required to report suspected and identified medical/health care errors and should do so without fear of reprisal in relationship to their employment. GSH supports the concept that errors occur due to a breakdown in systems and processes and will focus on improving systems and processes rather than disciplining those responsible for errors and occurrences. A focus will be placed on remedial action to assist rather than punish staff.

The hospital recognizes that if we are to succeed in creating a safe environment for patients, we must create an environment in which it is safe for caregivers to report and learn from errors. The hospital promotes openness and requires that mistakes be reported while ensuring that reported mistakes be handled without threat of punitive action.

The hospital recognizes that most clinical incidents are due to a failure of systems. Our goal is to identify and track errors in order to continuously improve the system.

If an employee reports a clinical error within 48 hours, there will be no disciplinary action taken for that error. It is hoped by the implementation of the 48-hour amnesty provision that more complete disclosure will occur.

This will not, however, negate the initiation of additional training and education for that individual if warranted. This policy will not protect individuals who consistently fail to participate in the detection, reporting and remedies to prevent errors, nor will it protect any individual where there is a reason to believe criminal intent may be involved.

Employees who knowingly fail to report a clinical error will be subject to disciplinary action taken in accordance with hospital policy.