Williamsport attorney honored for patient safety

PHOTO PROVIDED Williamsport attorney Clifford A. Rieders, right, receives the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority Recognition award from the state’s physician general, Dr. Rachel L. Levine.

WILLIAMSPORT — Williamsport attorney Clifford A. Rieders recently was presented with the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority Recognition Award for his valuable contributions while serving on the authority’s board of directors to improve patient safety in Pennsylvania health-care facilities.

The award was presented by Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Rachel L. Levine, authority board chair.

Rieders helped to found the authority, which was established by the state Legislature in 2002. In fact, former Gov. Mark Schweiker signed House Bill 1802, “Medical Malpractice Reform,” on March 20, 2002, thus making pennsylvania a national leader in the realm of medical malpractice lawsuits.

“A Patient Safety Authority had been recommended by the Institute of Medicine in November 1999. Pennsylvania was the first state to establish it. I fought long and hard, as president of the Trial Lawyers, for a Patient Safety Authority, and I was proud of its enactment,” Rieders said in prepared remarks.

He added, “I have seen the Patient Safety Authority go from a quasi-political institution to one dedicated mainly to enhancing patient safety. We have had worldwide impact. That does not mean our job is completed. We must remember to keep the emphasis on ‘patients.’ It is, after all, the ‘patient’ safety authority. This is all about better healthcare at a reasonable cost.”

Rieders also said he continues to work for patient safety, having founded Patient Power, an umbrella organization of patient advocacy groups in Pennsylvania.

“There are many small patient advocacy groups in Pennsylvania, but they need to be organized. Hopefully we will get to work with the Patient Safety Authority as partners. We are up and running. We will file for 501(c)(3) status with the federal government, establish a website, and interface with an organization such as Healthcare Quality Containment Council, the Department of Health, the Patient Safety Authority, and others,” he said.

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