Patient Safety Coalition


Garill Coles, Principal Scientist, Risk and Decision Science, PNNL, Chair



To advance the progress of patient safety in our community by collaborating as healthcare institutions, community leaders and risk specialists.



Patient Safety Coalition meetings are held in the Benton-Franklin Health District Board Room on the third Thursday of each month from  2:30-to-4 pm.


Current focus

The Patient Safety Coalition is currently investigating the root causes of the region’s opioid crisis, using Medicaid data provided by Qualis Health. A first step is to provide uniform training in the use of the State’s Prescription Monitoring Program to identify potential duplicate prescriptions for opioid painkillers. Used consistently, this tool is expected to create opportunities for intervention for patients at risk of addiction.


Recent activities

The Coalition sponsored an intensive 90-day study to identify causes for higher-than-state-average hospital readmissions within 30-days of discharge. Among the findings is that patients are older and Medicare beneficiaries are more likely than elsewhere in the state to have four or more chronic diseases. This poses unique challenges to improving care transitions. As a result, a new Care Transitions Committee was formed to address clinical communication issues at the point of discharge.


The Coalition’s work will also inform Medicare Demonstration Transformation initiatives of the Greater Columbia Accountable Community of Health.