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DATE: 9/1/2005

Scottsdale, Ariz. - Arizona physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers kicked off their participation today, September 1, 2005, in the 100,000 Lives Campaign at a Scottsdale news conference, and the Arizona Medical Board is lending its support to the effort.

Taking the lead in the state campaign are: Arizona Partnership for Implementing Patient Safety (APIPS); Safe & Sound � an Arizona Patient Safety Initiative; the Arizona Medical Association (ArMA); the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA); and HSAG � Health Services Advisory Group.

Founded and sponsored by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the campaign‘s goal is to save the lives of 100,000 people by preventing avoidable deaths from medical errors. The campaign ends on June 14, 2006.

Arizona‘s healthcare community is collaborating on patient and medication safety because medical errors are a problem that is system wide, not confined to one aspect of health care. This collaborative focus is helping all providers individually implement changes to reduce errors and to learn from each other.

The first public effort that Arizona‘s healthcare providers are pursuing involves medication reconciliation. “We want to build on one solid foundation,” said Rhonda Anderson, chief operating officer of Banner Desert Medical Center and member of the AzHHA‘s Patient Safety Steering Committee/Safe & Sound.

Until now, the consumer‘s role in medication safety was not well defined. That is changing with the introduction of The Med Form, supported by all Arizona healthcare organizations participating in patient safety initiatives.

The Med Form consolidates a patient‘s medication, medical history and physician information into a form that can fit in the wallet. The simple, free document provides consumers with a single record of prescriptions, herbals, and over-the-counter medications as well as vitamins. Use of The Med Form will reduce medication errors by promoting communication between consumers and their caregivers. Forms in both English and Spanish can be downloaded from the web site, and then printed out for patients.

Bruce Bethancourt, Jr., M.D., a practicing Phoenix internist, past president of ArMA and chairman of APIPS, said, “We‘re not blaming patients (for medical errors) or putting the onus on them; we‘re partnering with them.”

Governor Janet Napolitano has signed a proclamation declaring October as “Know Your Prescriptions Month.” It is hoped that physicians and physician assistants will help their patients understand the importance of medication information and provide them with copies of The Med Form.

Dan Ford, a consumer representative of the AzHHA Patient Safety Steering Committee/Safe & Sound, was the first consumer to fill out The Med Form and sign it at the news conference. “I encourage all consumers to complete The Med Form and take responsibility,” Ford said. He added, “We‘re not powerless.”

Alexi Nazem, national representative of the 100,000 Lives Campaign, pointed out that there are other initiatives underway by healthcare providers to prevent medical errors. He said The Med Form is a great way to involve patients in the effort because “they are a greater asset for their own care than anyone else.”