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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 29, 2005
President Signs Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
10:09 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Welcome. Good morning. (Laughter.) In a few moments, I'll have the honor of signing the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005. This bill is a critical step toward our goal of ensuring top-quality, patient-driven health care for all Americans.
With this law, we'll be able to obtain more accurate information about medical treatments. And by providing doctors with information about what treatments work and what treatments cause problems, we will reduce medical errors that injure and cause the deaths of thousands of Americans each year.
I commend the members of Congress for their hard work in passing this piece of legislation. This has been a productive week for the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. I'm looking forward to signing an energy bill that will encourage conservation, increase domestic production, and help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I'm looking forward to signing a highway bill that will strengthen our transportation infrastructure and improve the safety of our roads and create jobs.
I appreciate the House and the Senate for passing the Central American Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement that will level the playing field for America's goods, as well as promote democracy in our hemisphere. All these bills are good bills. They're good for the people of this country. And I appreciate their hard work in getting them to my desk.
I want to thank the Secretary of Health and Human Services for joining us, Mike Leavitt. I appreciate Senator Bill Frist, the Majority Leader -- Dr. Bill Frist. (Laughter.) I want to thank Committee Chairman Mike Enzi, Senator Judd Gregg and Ted Kennedy and Jim Jeffords for their good work in the United States Senate on this piece of legislation. I appreciate my friend from Texas, Joe Barton -- Congressman Joe Barton, and Nathan Deal and Mike Bilirakis for joining me here today as I sign this piece of legislation.
I want to thank Dr. Edward Hill, who is the President of the American Medical Association, straight out of Mississippi. (Laughter.) I appreciate Dr. Sophia Smith, who is the Children's National Medical Center; Dr. Janis Orlowski, who is the Senior Vice President of the Washington Hospital Center; and Susan Mintz -- Suzanne Mintz, the President of the National Family Caregivers Association. Thank you all for coming. I also want to welcome our professionals who are here with us today.
The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act will help ensure that Americans continue to benefit from the greatest medical system in the world. To maintain the highest standards of care, doctors and nurses must be able to exchange information about problems and solutions. Yet in recent years, many doctors have grown afraid to discuss their practices because they worry that the information they provide will be used against them in a lawsuit.
This bill will help solve that problem. This is a common-sense law that gives legal protections to health professionals who report their practices to patient safety organizations. By providing critical information about medical procedures, doctors and nurses can help others learn from their experiences. That's why I said it's a common-sense law. By making essential information more available across America, we will help ensure that patients benefit from the best medical treatment, no matter where they live. That seems to make sense to me.
This bill builds on other common-sense reforms we're making to the American health care system. By providing a new Medicare prescription drug benefit, we're giving seniors more choices and helping them get the medicine they need. By making health savings accounts more broadly available, we're helping more Americans own and control their own health coverage. By increasing funding for community health centers, we're helping the poor and the uninsured get the quality health care they deserve and need.
We'll continue working to improve our health care system. To make it easier for employers to offer coverage to their workers, we must allow small businesses to join together to buy insurance at the same discounts that big businesses can do. To reduce costs and improve care, we must harness the power of information technology to computerize health records.
And we've got to stop the frivolous lawsuits that are running up the cost of medicine and driving good professionals out of this important profession. We need medical liability reform now. (Applause.) The bill I sign today is an example of people coming together to do what's right for the country.
Again, I want to thank the members of Congress who are here. It is now my honor to sign this good bill into law. (Applause.)
(The bill is signed.) (Applause.)
END 10:15 A.M. EDT