What are the requirements to be a PSO?

Every entity seeking to be a PSO must certify to AHRQ that it has policies and procedures (go to Policies and Procedures—Topics to Address; PDF File, 76 KB) in place to perform the eight patient safety activities specified in the Patient Safety Rule.

In addition, an entity must also, upon listing, certify that it will comply with the following seven additional criteria specified in the Patient Safety Rule:

  • The mission and primary activity of the entity are to conduct activities that improve patient safety and the quality of health care delivery.
  • The entity has appropriately qualified staff (whether directly or through contract), including licensed or certified medical professionals.
  • The entity, within each 24-month period that begins after the date of the initial listing as a PSO, will establish two bona fide contracts, each of a reasonable period of time, with more than one provider, for the purpose of receiving and reviewing PSWP.
  • The entity is not, and is not a component of, a health insurance issuer.
  • The entity shall fully disclose—
    1. any financial, reporting, or contractual relationship between the entity and any provider that contracts with the entity; and
    2. if applicable, the fact that the entity is not managed, controlled, and operated independently from any provider that contracts with the entity.
  • To the extent practical and appropriate, the entity collects PSWP from providers in a standardized manner that permits valid comparisons of similar cases among similar providers.
  • The entity uses PSWP for the purpose of providing direct feedback and assistance to providers to effectively minimize patient risk.

The Patient Safety Rule also establishes several additional requirements (refer to Patient Safety Rule Section 3.102(a)).