CT Center for Patient Safety Newsletter
Quality Healthcare is a Right March 2009
In This Issue
Not even a blizzard
Taking on a powerful industry
Reporter looking for the person behind the numbers
Not even a blizzard
On March 2, despite fifteen inches of snow, three incredibly hardy and committed volunteers showed up to testify at a Public Health hearing in Hartford.  Early the previous Friday morning, we learned that in a 30 page bill one paragraph stated - if physicians join the Sustinet Plan - on the whole a very comprehenisve bill on health reform - they could not be held liable.  Susan Manganello, our Vice President of Education, Rebecca Ball - who is one of our newests and articulate advocates and Bill Tyra, a retired Marine Corps Colonel gave what two lobbyists said, was the best testimony on accountability and responsibility, that they have ever heard.  So much of what we do is trying to not lose ground.  Constant oversight is required and as Bill Tyra, our Marine volunteer, signs every letter, Semper FI.  In the case of CTCPS, we are faithful to our mission of protecting consumer's rights and access to our courts.
On March 9, we held a Press Conference on our pharmaceutical gift ban bill.  The Attorney General, the Office of Healthcare Advoate and Consumers Union stood with us and for the consumer.
Our press conference can be accessed on CT-N
We also had coverage on WNPR, in the Hartford Courant and the New London Day
Do you have a story to tell? 
Want to get more involved.
Call Jean Rexford 203 247 5757 
and don't forget, financial support is always appreciated. you can contribute today.  Our website is www.ctcps.org
Thank you
Taking on a powerful industry
Each year for three years, CTCPS has trying to shine a light on the conflicts of interests and marketing strategies of the pharmaceutical industry.  The problems are pervasive and the influence of their marketing are often putting your health at risk.  Just last week the Justice Department charged Forest Laboraties with fraud. They promoted the results of one favorable clinical trial, and concealed for several years a study that showed that the drugs were not effecitve in children and might even put them at risk.  Their sales reps - called detailers- told physicians a half-truth in their efforts to sell the drugs.  The drugs were the popular antidipressants Celexa and Lexapro.  Prosecutors have also charged Forest with paying kickbacks in the form of baseball tickets and gifts certifcates to expensive restaurnats, to doctors who prescribed the drugs and even provided some doctors with paid vacations.
Our legislation would ban all gifts to physicians and require pharmaceutical companies to report all payments to doctors of over $1,000 to our Department of Public Health.
A gift ban and payment disclosure --Senate Bill 1049 are incredibly important.  Costs would be lowered, but more importantly, the public would be getting accurate and undistorted information.
Please call or email members of the Public Health Committee today.  You cannot imagine the power of this lobby but I am certain your voice will be heard - but only if you write that email or pick up the phone.
Contact Members of the Public Health Committee and urge them to support Senate Bill 1049.  It can be a very simple message and it can either be emailed to the legislator or you can phone his or her office.  If you phone, Democrat - 1 -800-842-1420, a Republican 1-800- 842- 1421 and ask for the Representative or Senator, listed below who sits on the committee.   You will not reach the rep but you will either get an aide,  or voice mail.  Leave your message.  It should be short and to the point.  Support bill 1049 and ban gifts. 
  Or email.  You can do this by going to the General Assembly web site
http://www.cga.ct.gov/ , go to committees listed across the top, click on Public Health, on the left you will see committee membership and click.  Wonderfully, the entire list of public health committee members will appear and you can go to work! Of go to our website www.ctcps.org and click on taking action
Please let me know if you have any questions
Jean 203 247 5757 and thank you
Committee membership
Dist. - Name Position  Party
S05 - Harris, Jonathan A. Co-Chair D  
038 - Ritter, Elizabeth B. Co-Chair D  
S14 - Slossberg, Gayle S. Vice Chair D  
104 - Gentile, Linda M Vice Chair D  
S21 - Debicella, Dan Ranking Member R  
138 - Giegler, Janice R. Ranking Member R  
128 - Ayala, Andres Member D  
002 - Bartlett, Jason W. Member D  
019 - Bye, Beth Member D  
108 - Carson, Mary Ann Member R  
S02 - Coleman, Eric D. Member D  
105 - Conroy, Theresa W. Member D  
103 - Esty, Elizabeth Member D  
023 - Giuliano, Marilyn Member R  
129 - Grogins, Auden Member D  
101 - Heinrich, Deborah W. Member D  
114 - Klarides, Themis Member R  
017 - LeGeyt, Timothy B. Member R  
100 - Lesser, Matthew Member D  
106 - Lyddy, Christopher Member D  
089 - Nardello, Vickie Orsini Member D  
S19 - Prague, Edith G. Member D  
024 - O'Brien, Tim Member D  
046 - Olson, Melissa M. Member D  
139 - Ryan, Kevin Member D  
107 - Scribner, David A. Member R  
S20 - Stillman, Andrea L. Member D  
109 - Taborsak, Joseph J Member D  
026 - Tercyak, Peter A. Member D  
098 - Widlitz, Patricia M. Member D  
S08 - Witkos, Kevin D. Member R  

Reporter looking for the people behind the statistics.
A national reporter is doing background on for a May article.  She has specific criteria listed below.  Please call Jean if your story matches the reporters needs.
"I am looking currently looking for the two most "egregious" cases in Connecticut. Below are our "criteria" - I am sorry it sounds so gruesome:

- for the sake of our argument, we are looking into wrongful death - somebody must have died in the hospital's/ doctor's care
- the death must have happened within the last 5-6 years, eight years ago the most
- we are looking for a clear case of medical error that could have been prevented
- the case should have ended in court - either with a settlement or conviction of the medical provider
(as an "add-on" it would be great if we could proof that the Dept. of Health in CT didn't investigate at all or did a poor investigation)
Sorry for this horrific "laundry list", but these criteria will allow us to show how bad it can get if we are not acting. "