Share this site! The Safe Patient Project is a Consumers Union campaign focused on eliminating medical harm, improving FDA oversight of prescription drugs and promoting disclosure laws that give information to consumers about health care safety and quality.


This geographic signifier gathers content together on our site which is regarded as having national significance. That includes items at the federal level.

Consumers Union Documents

Consumers Union News Releases

Blog Posts

  • Victory for patients! Public reporting of certain infections will go nationwide

    Soon it will be easier for you to find out how well your hospital prevents certain infections. As part of the new health care reform law, the Department of Health and Human Services will require hospitals to publicly disclose several types of dangerous hospital infections.

  • Patient safety activists hold “conversation” with CDC

    On June 16, Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project and 11 patient safety advocates from 10 states attended the first “Consumer Conversation on Healthcare-Associated Infections” at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

  • Let’s talk about labels

    A bill in California (SB 1390) would create a minimum of 12-point font for the most crucial information on medication labels and would require translation of medication label information into commonly used non-English languages.

  • Numerators

    Guest blog post from Kerry O’Connell of Conifer, Colorado. Kerry is a member of the Colorado Health Facility Acquired Infections Advisory Committee. A committed patient safety advocate, he calls for restoring empathy and compassion in health care.

  • New CDC report on CLABSIs: One step forward, many more to go

    This week the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a state-specific report (not hospital specific) on rates of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) in the ICU as collected by its National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), a monitoring system that looks at hospital infections across the nation.

  • A Lifesaving Safety Program Your Hospital Should Follow

    An innovative “checklist” to reduce central line bloodstream infections in intensive care units has had incredible success in hospitals where it’s been adopted.

  • Septicemia Statistics and the Need for Death Certificate Reform

    Guest blog by Lori Nerbonne of NH Patient Voices–Death certificates are the primary source of important vital statistics in our country – yet too many certificates fail to tell the whole story.

  • New Resource for Those Dissatisfied with a Health Care Experience

    Guest blog post by Deb Wachenheim, Health Quality Manager at Health Care For All (HCFA) in Boston. HCFA has launched a new website that can help patients in Massachusetts and across the country speak up when something goes wrong in the hospital. There is information on asking for help when you are in the hospital, advice on how to file a complaint, and resources available to help you.

  • California Pharmacy Board Should Support Safer Medication Labels

    Guest blog post written by Syed Sayeed, Policy Analyst at Consumers Union’s West Coast Office. CU is calling on California residents to submit comments to the Pharmacy Board by March 10th, in support of requiring all pharmacies to print important label information in at least a 12-point font size.

  • U.S. Congressman dies following surgical error, infection

    Our leaders in Congress experience medical harm, too. On Monday, Politico reported that Pennsylvania U.S. Congressman John Murtha had died as a result of complications from recent gallbladder removal surgery at Bethesda Naval Hospital.

News Articles

  • Grassley criticizes federal agency over removal of doctor discipline data
    Source: Association of Health Care Journalists (Friday October 7, 2011)

    U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley sent a letter today to the Health Resources and Services Administration, criticizing its decision to remove a public version of the National Practitioner Data Bank, which has helped reporters and researchers to expose serious gaps in the oversight of physicians.

  • Former Practitioner Data Banks official says HRSA ‘erroneously interpreting the law’
    Source: Association of Health Care Journalists (Monday October 3, 2011)

    A retired National Practitioner Data Bank official (Robert Oshel) criticized a decision by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration for removing the Public Use File of the National Practitioner Data Bank from the agency’s website – a major development as journalism groups fight to restore access to the important tool.

  • Hospitals readmission rates under scrutiny
    Source: Austin American-Statesman (Wednesday September 28, 2011)

    A new national study indicates that too many hospitals are fumbling and could face penalties if they don’t improve within a year. Texas hospitals respond.

  • Journalists turn to Sebelius for access to National Practitioner Data Bank file
    Source: Association of Health Care Journalists (Wednesday September 28, 2011)

    Six journalism groups have appealed to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to intervene in the dispute over the Public Use File of the National Practitioner Data Bank and restore access to this important data tool.

  • Agency declines to restore public data
    Source: Association of Health Care Journalists (Thursday September 22, 2011)

    The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration resisted demands by three major journalism organizations for the immediate restoration of a Public Use File of the National Practitioner Data Bank, a tool that reporters have used to expose lapses in oversight of troubled physicians.

  • Kansas City Star: Stop trying to protect dangerous doctors
    Source: Kansas City Star (Saturday September 17, 2011)

    “President Barack Obama’s administration has gone overboard in trying to protect physicians from the public’s right to glean essential information about their doctors.”

  • US data on 'bad doctors' closed to the public
    Source: MSNBC (Thursday September 15, 2011)

    The Obama administration has closed public access to its database of disciplinary action against doctors and other medical professionals, basically because reporters were getting too good at using it.

  • Report Finds Improved Performance by Hospitals
    Source: New York Times (Wednesday September 14, 2011)

    NYT coverage of the Joint Commission report on hospital process measures. Consumers Union Safe Patient Project Director, Lisa McGiffert, quoted: “Highlight the poorest performers.”

  • Obama's HHS shuts down public access to doctor malpractice data
    Source: Kansas City Star (Tuesday September 13, 2011)

    The Kansas City Star reports on the HHS taking down the National Practitioner Data Bank Public Use File. Lisa McGiffert, Director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project quoted. A Health and Human Services Department’s Health Resources and Services Administration spokesman says the file is likely to be down for 6 months or more and may not return in the same format.

  • National doctor database goes dark over privacy concerns
    Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Monday September 12, 2011)

    The Health Resources and Services Administration has removed the Public Use File from the National Practitioner Data Bank’s website because of confidentiality concerns.

Research and Reports