November 13, 2019

Luján Introduces Legislation to Improve Diagnostic Research and Save Lives

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), the U.S. House Assistant Speaker, introduced bipartisan legislation with Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) to bolster diagnostic research in medicine and improve patient outcomes.

The Improving Diagnosis in Medicine Act makes critical investments to advance research and progress in diagnostic quality, safety, and value in health care. In the United States, diagnostic errors result in between 40,000 and 80,000 preventable deaths and cost the health care system more than $100 billion each year. According to a 2015 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, most people will experience at least one diagnostic error in their lifetime.

“Every New Mexican deserves quality, affordable health care. We must address health care disparities and remove barriers that exist for too many families – including preventing diagnostic errors that can cause irreparable harm to patients. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to bolster diagnostic research and improve health care for families across the country,” said Luján.

“Millions of Americans are negatively impacted by a diagnostic error each year.   Patients experience a broad range of complications resulting from these errors.  While some patients may only encounter a minor inconvenience, many others experience worsening health conditions and even death.  Our bipartisan legislation seeks to tackle this important issue through targeted research that will yield standards in improving the quality, safety and overall value of diagnostics.  It is an important step in improving the quality of healthcare available to Americans,” said Bilirakis

“With misdiagnosis occurring in nearly 10% of all stroke patients in emergency settings, it is clear something must be done to improve diagnostic accuracy and to reduce such errors.  The Improving Diagnosis in Medicine Act takes steps to improve how patients are diagnosed by creating the federal Interagency Council on Improving Diagnosis in Health Care, which would be led by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Additionally, by developing a Strategic Federal Plan to Improve Diagnosis, we can work to reduce diagnostic errors for stroke and other diseases.  We are grateful to Congressmen Ben Ray Luján and Gus Bilirakis for introducing this important legislation,” said Dr. Mitch Elkind, president-elect of the American Heart Association and chief of the Columbia University Division of Neurology Clinical Outcomes Research and Population Sciences.

“The research community has made significant strides in understanding the scope and severity of inaccurate and delayed diagnoses, showing it to be the most common, most catastrophic and most costly of all errors in malpractice claims in U.S. healthcare, but more work is needed, and soon,” said Paul L. Epner, chief executive officer and co-founder of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine. “With this bill, Members of Congress are leading efforts to recognize the seriousness of diagnostic error and are working across party lines to address it.”

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