CT Center for Patient Safety Newsletter
Our legislative victory report!May 7, 2010

Stop and think - at least while we still can.  

Caitlin McDevitt in a Washington Post article addressed the increased use of anti-depressants in our society.  Anti-depressants were the third most prescribed types of drug in 2008 - hitting $9.6 billion in sales.  Our national reliance on these drugs continues to rise.  The use of anti-depressants doubled from 1996 to 2015.  The business of depression is lucrative - from pharmaceutical gifts and payments to physicans to the increased ad revenue.  Drug companies realize the importance of brand loyalty when it comes to these drugs because people take them over a very long period of time.  Pfizer is offering their anti-depressant Zoloft free to those who have lost their jobs.  And direct to consumer advertising has increased alarmingly.  Drug makers are the third biggest spender of ad money.  And women are often the targeted audience in life style magazines.
No one is arguing that these drugs do not serve an important role, but perhaps we need to stop and think before ingesting.

Our friend Jennifer Jaff, Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness has put together a list of resources for you to access to better understand health reform and what it might mean to you: Kaiser Family Foundation, which has a TON of information on health reform, AARP has a special health reform question platform. Families USA has a new site called Health Reform Central that's set up to answer your questions. And there will be plenty of other resources, including a help desk at the Department of Health and Human Services, or so promises Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (for now, visit the Health Reform website or a new White House feature, what health reform will mean to you). 

Quick Links
and my cell phone
203 247 5757
And as always thank you for your financial support: it is tax deductible and greatly appreciated.
Dear Member:
The legislative session is over. We have good news and
even better news.  Our two bills passed.

S.B. 248 - AN ACT CONCERNING ADVERSE EVENTS AT HOSPITALS AND OUTPATIENT SURGICAL FACILITIES.  The legislation aims to provide better information to patients and the public regarding the occurrence of adverse events, including health care -related infections, in Connecticut hospitals and gives the Department of Public Health new enforcement authority.  It requires DPH to conduct regular audits and prepare an annual adverse event report with specific contextual information about the hospital and outpatient facility so that the public can make more informed decisions about where and how to receive care. Senator McDonald offered an amendment that allows the individual who files a complaint with the DPH a greater role while that complaint is processed.  This amendment could make an enormous difference and I will work with Senator McDonald on the implementatiion of the amendment.

It was attached as an amendment to a health department bill and as the Attorney General Office staff person said "This is an incredible win."
We have been working on accoutability and transparency for four years and I thought for sure we would fail to see it called to the Senate floor.  Because there is federal legislation that requires disclosure of pharmaceutical company payments to physicians, Senate Bill 270 addressed the conduct of the interactions between the sales rep and the physicians.  We were asking the companies to adopt a code of ethics and were putting in place the ability of our Attorney General to fine under the Unfair Trade Practices Act.  
Our organization is celebrating five years of hard work and what has come out of those five years is a determined group of consumers with increasing knowledge of the industries making up health care.  We have allies that we did not have before and a knowledge of the process that will help us make change happen.  Your stories keep us moving forward - it makes us credible and forceful so thank you for all that you do to make it possible to hold our truth up to their power.

The Empowered Patient Coalition

Patient reporting site for medical errors is now online!

The Empowered Patient Coalition is pleased to announce that a new survey for reporting adverse medical events is now permanently online at http://www. empoweredpatientcoalition.org/ report-a-medical-event.  This survey is designed by patients, for patients, in order to give people who have experienced adverse medical events a place where their reports can be counted.  
Created in collaboration with Consumers Union Safe Patient Project, the survey aims to provide a snapshot of medical harm as it is lived by those who undergo it, beginning with the patient's initial procedure or treatment and continuing all the way through the patient and family experience of the legal system.  Responses will be presented in de-identified, aggregated form at www.empoweredpatientcoalition.org.   
This is an international survey.  Reports will be displayed by country, and reports from the US and Canada will also be tallied by state or province whenever the respondent provides such information.  Survey participants will also have the option of sharing their stories with the Consumers Union Safe Patient Project.  In order to protect the confidentiality of patient information, we do not collect IP addresses or contact information unless it is explicitly provided by the respondent.  It is our hope that this may allow the recovery of some small part of the patient safety information that is now lost to confidentiality clauses in medical settlements.

We envision this survey as a community project, and we welcome your input and participation. We hope you will forward the survey to your members and contacts, and ask that you link to it directly from your website or Facebook page if at all possible.  Broad dissemination is the only way we can collect enough information to determine the trends we are hoping to be able to see. Buttons for linking to the survey can be found at