CT Center for Patient Safety Newsletter
November 2010 
In This Issue
Getting involved
Prescription drug use soared
Statewide stakeholder conference


A way to get involved.

Are you interested in being considered for a position as a public member of an examining board?  Because we will soon have a new Governor, new appointments will be made to oversight boards such as the Medical Examining Board.  Think very carefully about the commitment because a public member has an important role on the board, whether it be our medical, dental, chiropractic or any other board.  Requirements are participation in the meetings - all of which are during the week - and a three-hour training session provided by our organization on effective public participation on examining boards.  If you are interested, please call me and we can discuss.  All of you understand the importance of transparency and accountability. 

I hope to hear from you.  203 247 5757


Surgical errors continue despite protocols

Despite a requirement that hospitals abide by a standard set of procedures, surgical errors, such as wrong site surgery and objects left in the patient, continue to happen - and are occurring more often.


Next year, in CT, these adverse events will be made public by hospital.  Let's hope that it will get hospitals to move more quickly to increase patient safety. 


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Dear CTCPS member,

Investigative journalists are our allies.  As the print newspapers collapse, journalists are evaluating their role and are quickly moving to some very serious investigations.  They are opening windows and doors, shining a light on the industries that so loosely make up our health care "system."


Fraud is an easy target - simply because there is so much of it. Hats off to Mark Schoof and Maurice Thomas, Wall Street Journal investigative reporters who delved into Medicare data to undercover fraud.  This data is particulary hard to come by because the American Medical Association, thirty years ago, successfully lobbied to keep secret how much money individual physicians receive from Medicare.  This means that we the public cannot possibly find out how one eighth of all Medicare dollars are spent.


The power of these trade associations trumps the needs of patients and their families.  One of our members is interested in collecting stories about Medicare fraud.  In one instance, a Connecticut hospital charged Medicare for two CT scans the day the member's mother died.  If she had not looked at the bill, Medicare would have paid.  Never accept hospital billing.  Call with your questions - you will hear what so many patients hear - "a mistake was made."


It is your experience, your stories that keep us focused and grounded in our mission.



Prescription Drug Use Soared in the Past Decade

45 % of those over 60 take a cholesterol-lowering drug. For ages 20 to 59, the most common drug is an anti-depressant.
Among people over 60, 88% surveyed were using at least one medication and two-thirds were taking five or more.
Even among young children - those under 12 - 6% were prescribed drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and related conditions.

Side effects and safety have become a very serious issue. And spending on prescription drugs has more than doubled over the past decade.  Americans spent more than $234 billion on prescription drugs in 2008, up from $104 billion in 1999.


Glaxo to Pay $750 Million for Sale of Bad Products

GlaxoSmithKline, the British drug giant, has agreed to pay $750 million to settle criminal and civil complaints that the company for years knowingly sold contaminated baby ointment and an ineffective antidepressant - the latest in a growing number of whistle-blower lawsuits that drug makers have settled with multimillion dollar fines.

Altogether, GlaxoSmithKline sold 20 drugs with questionable safety that were made at a huge plant in Puerto Rico that for years was rife with contamination.

Cheryl D. Eckard, the company's quality manager, asserted in her whistle-blower lawsuit that she had warned Glaxo of the problems but the company fired her instead of addressing them. Among the drugs involved were Paxil, an antidepressant; Bactroban, an ointment; Avandia, a troubled diabetes drug; Coreg, a heart drug; and Tagamet, an acid reflux drug. No patients were known to have been sickened, although such cases would be difficult to trace.

In a rising wave, recent lawsuits have asserted that drug makers misled patients and defrauded federal and state governments that, through Medicare and Medicaid, pay for much of health care.

Using claims from industry insiders, federal prosecutors are not only demanding record fines but are hinting at more severe actions.

Justice Department officials announced the settlement in a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Boston, saying a $150 million payment to settle criminal charges was the largest such payment ever by a manufacturer of adulterated drugs. The outcome also provides $600 million in civil penalties. The share to the whistle-blower will be $96 million, one of the highest such awards in a health care fraud.



Join us on Friday, November 19th to discuss

 Healthcare Associated Infections Prevention Outcomes



As consumers, I hope you can attend.  Helo us help them remember why they should care about infections.

A Health Improvement Plan is a comprehensive planning

document that outlines the scope of a significant public health

problem, assesses the impact of the problem, determines

necessary actions, collaborations and resources, and sets

priorities for actions and resources to address it. The State of

Connecticut Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI) Health

Improvement Plan (HIP) will address the wide range of

sectors of the healthcare system (e.g. dialysis centers, long

term care facilities, community health centers, hospitals, ambulatory

surgical centers, homecare and hospice

Location: Southern Connecticut State University

Stakeholders for the HAI HIP include:

health providers (MDs, Nurses, PA's and health professionals) working in hospital, long term care, dialysis centers, community health centers, homecare and hospice, and ambulatory surgical centers, consumers,

advocates, payors, and public health professionals.


Connecticut Department of Public Health


Michael J. Adanti Student Center

501 Crescent Street

New Haven, CT 06515

Time: 8:30 A.M.-4:30 P.M.

Last Date to Register: November 12, 2010



You can register by going to the Department of Public Health Website.