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Former chairman of NTSB calls for national medical safety board

Jim Hall, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board recently filed an op-ed calling for a similar organization to analyze medical errors and recommend solutions.  He noted that the NTSB costs taxpayers about 25 cents each, per year, and for that cost it has saved millions of lives as a result of its activities in commercial airline and highway safety alone.  He noted that 10 years ago, the Instititute of Medicine placed the cost of avoidable medical error at $17 to $29 billion per year--and likely much higher today.  With the current focus on the cost of health care (which now approaches approximately 1/3 of the average annual family income in the United States) an organization similar to the NTSB to study and eliminate routine and avoidable medical errors is long overdue.

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