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May 25, 2000

Laura Lewis

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Phone: 650/604-2162, 650/604-9000;

VA Office of Public Affairs; Phone: 202/273-6000


NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: News media are invited to attend a signing ceremony that will forge a new partnership for patient safety. The ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. EDT on May 30 in the Murrow Room of the National Press Club, 529 14th St., NW, Washington, DC.


A NASA-operated voluntary patient safety protection system will come to life May 30 when NASA and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) officials sign an agreement at the National Press Club at 10 a.m. EDT in Washington, DC.

By forging an alliance with NASA, the veterans' agency will be tapping into NASA's expertise on safety issues to implement and operate a system for recording and analyzing medical errors and "close calls." VA operates 172 medical centers that last year treated more than 3.3 million patients, and has been a leader in reporting medical errors.

Dr. Henry McDonald, Director of NASA Ames Research Center, located in California's Silicon Valley; and Dr. Thomas Garthwaite, Acting Under Secretary for Health for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), will sign the formal agreement that paves the way for development of the voluntary external patient safety reporting system.

NASA will operate the VA Patient Safety Reporting System that is modeled after the NASA-administered Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) which is funded by the Federal Aviation Administration and also operated under a Memorandum of Agreement between those two agencies. The ASRS collects, analyzes and responds to voluntarily submitted aviation safety incident reports in order to lessen the likelihood of aviation accidents.

Also participating in the press conference will be Linda Connell, ASRS Director, NASA Ames; James Bagian, M.D., P.E., Director of VA's National Center for Patient Safety and John Eisenberg, M.D., Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Participants will be available after the press conference for brief interviews.



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