Eight of the country's largest companies have created a group whose purpose is to exhort employers to insist on safe medicine when doing business with health plans, and to encourage workers to use hospitals with good safety records. The Leapfrog Group grew out of the Institute of Medicine's report detailing medical mistakes in hospitals.

The group is made up of representatives from General Electric, General Motors, and other giant employers. The Business Roundtable, composed of the chief executives of most of the 100 biggest companies in the U.S., gave the group money for an office and a staff.

Aetna U.S. Healthcare, meanwhile, will fund a $1 million research initiative to develop medical-error-reduction strategies and its quality-measurement arm, U.S. Quality Algorithms, will work with hospitals to reduce errors.

One ripple effect of the IOM report: Some congressional observers think the attention will push managed care reform to the back burner this year.