As of March 2002, patients at Department of Veterans
Affairs (VA) hospitals and clinics nationwide will have an
extra pair of eyes looking out for their safety.

In collaboration with NASA, the VA is rolling out a new
medical reporting system, called the Patient Safety Reporting
System (PSRS), to most of its medical facilities nationwide.
The PSRS is an independent, external system that complements
the agency’s current internal reporting systems. The PSRS is
modeled after NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS),
an incident-reporting program administered for the Federal
Aviation Administration by NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett
Field, Calif.

“The experience gained in operating the ASRS for 25 years
will be invaluable in establishing the collection of
voluntary, confidential data reported by health care
providers on the front line of patient care in VA
facilities,” said Linda Connell, NASA ASRS/PSRS director.

“When individuals feel uncomfortable reporting to the
internal systems, they have a safety valve they can use – the
PSRS,” added Dr. James Bagian, director of the VA’s National
Center for Patient Safety (NCPS). The guiding principles of
the PSRS are improvement of patient safety through voluntary
participation, confidential reporting, and non-punitive
provisions for VA employees who choose to participate,
according to officials.

The VA operates 163 medical centers across the country and
last year had more than 3 million patients enrolled in its
health-care system. The PSRS invites all VA medical facility
staff to voluntarily report any events or concerns that
involve patient safety.

PSRS forms and information are available at VA medical
facilities and on the Internet at: