CT Center for Patient Safety Newsletter
January 3, 2011



Help is on the way.



 There are more and more resources for us - designed not by the industries but by people like us who had similar experiences. 


Helen Haskell lost her son and has created the Empowered Patient  Manual for all of us to access. Helen and Julia Halisey co-wrote the manual and the website.


The Nahuns from Atlanta have a new resouce -http://www.patientsafetypartnership.org


Ilene Corina on Long Island is teaching a course in how to be a patient advocate.


Patty Skolnick in Colorado mirrors our leiglstive work.


Lori Neurborn in New Hampshire just filed for her non profit status and in my eyes is one of the leading national experts on healthcare acquired infections.


The list goes on and we are part of a national movement.


Our challenge is in getting the word out.  We have the information everyone needs to improve the quality of their own care.


Please make your 2011 resolution: "I will do five activities that will help us distribute these important materials."

Remember: You can make the difference.

Governor-Elect Dan Malloy has  announced that he has selected Dr. Jewel Mullen to lead the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

In addition to her medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Dr. Mullen has an Masters in Public Health from Yale University and a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University. Dr. Mullen currently directs the Bureau of Community Health and Prevention for the Massachusetts DPH, where she directs the Department's divisions of Prevention and Wellness, Violence and Injury Prevention, and Primary Care and Health Access, in addition to an Office of Statistics and Evaluation. Malloy. She's a practitioner, a teacher, a community leader and she has first-hand experience with neighborhood-based health delivery, as well as managing a large department within with Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 

Board certified in Internal Medicine, Dr. Mullen began her clinical career as a member of the National Health Service Corps at Bellevue Hospital in New York; after which she joined the medical faculty at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. A Connecticut resident since 1992, she has been a member of the medical staff at the Hospital of St. Raphael, the Yale University Health Services, and Yale New Haven Hospital. She also served as medical director at Baystate Mason Square Neighborhood Health Center in Springfield, Massachusetts for seven years. As a clinician educator, Dr. Mullen has served on the medical school faculty at New York University, The University of Virginia, Yale and Tufts. In her clinical practice, teaching and research, Dr. Mullen has focused on improving access to high quality health care and preventive services, particularly for minority populations and the elderly. While in Springfield, she participated in a number of community public health endeavors, including founding Living Longer Better, a program that empowers older adults to maintain their health and well being.

I think this is potentially very exciting news for our state.




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Dear Members,


I am encouraged at the increased volume of  voices disatisfied with our health care delivery system.  It is only with a united voice demanding change that we are going to see real progress.  My resolution for 2011 is to keep up the steady drum beat demanding fundamental reform and to work to add new voices to our cause.


Happy and Healthy 2011



The Connecticut Health Investigative Team  (www.C-HIT.ORG)  is  the product of a team of award-winning journalists who have come together to provide the public with original, in-depth stories on issues of health and safety.


1.    Numerous doctors who have been sanctioned for prescription abuse, financial malfeasance and other misconduct in neighboring states are practicing in Connecticut, under unrestricted licenses;

2.    Connecticut schools used emergency restraints and seclusions on students more than 18,000 times last year;

3.    DePuy Orthopaedics, under fire for producing faulty hip-replacement parts, has paid out more than $80.8 million to 200 physicians across the country since 2009;

4.    A physician shortage in Connecticut is hampering patient access to primary care and high-risk specialty care, with inner city and rural areas such as Windham and Litchfield counties among the hardest hit.

 C-HIT will be providing searchable databases containing up-to-date government regulatory information on healthcare facilities, providers and other health-related issues.  C-HIT was founded by Lynne DeLucia, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former editor of The Hartford Courant, and Lisa Chedekel, an award-winning reporter.


Negligent Physicians Connecticut Medical Examining Board needs to toughen up

Hartford Courant Editorial December 24, 2010

What do you do if you're a physician in Massachusetts, Rhode Island or New York and have been disciplined by authorities - maybe even lost your license - for, say, taking drugs, having sex with your patient or delivering negligent care?

A number of doctors and other health care professionals sanctioned in those neighboring states for such offenses have set up practice in Connecticut. Why? Because authorities he are far more lax.

Connecticut too often overlooks disciplinary incidents that occur elsewhere or applies restrictions that aren't tough enough.

Some of the best medicine in the nation is practiced in Connecticut, but sadly there is a hard-to-change culture in the health care community here of trying to paper over mistakes.

Progress has been made in publicly reporting hospital errors.

But the Connecticut Medical Examining Board, a volunteer panel of mostly physicians appointed by the governor, has yet to put enough starch in its discipline of incompetent or negligent doctors. It's time to get as tough as our neighbors so that Connecticut is no longer known as a haven for bad practitioners.

Censured? Come To Connecticut

Journalists for the Web-based investigative team C-HIT recently conducted a study of licensing records of the past three years and found that more than a dozen physicians had escaped serious licensure actions in Connecticut although they had been issued reprimands or censures, and in some cases had their licenses revoked or were made to surrender them, in three neighboring states.

C-HIT found that some of the doctors who were sanctioned in other states promptly relocated to Connecticut, with no restrictions on their licenses. The medical examining board and the Department of Public Health, which investigates and brings complaints to the board for adjudication, presumably were aware of these discipline cases moving into Connecticut. They certainly have access to the information. Why didn't they act on it?

A study by the Public Citizen Health Research Group shows that Connecticut ranks an embarrassing 47th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in the rate of serious disciplinary actions taken by state medical boards against physicians from 2007 to 2009.

History Of Troubles

This is nothing new. Connecticut has consistently been in the bottom 10 states in each of the last four three-year reporting cycles.

Connecticut's volunteer board is not the best model for protecting patients. The board and Public Health Department are often at odds, blaming each other when things go wrong.

In 2004, Deputy Health Commissioner Norma Gyle said the board of "doctors protecting doctors" should be abolished. Last year, Audrey Honig Geragosian, director of communications for State Medical Society, suggested the volunteer board be professionalized.

What About The Patients?

Connecticut's miserable record of cracking down on physicians who break the rules is a black mark against the state. Why isn't patient protection always an urgent priority? It can't be for lack of resources.

The Public Health Department will apparently propose legislation giving the state statutory authority to deem "as true" the findings of another state's disciplinary proceedings - rather than having to examine each out-of-state case as is done now. This will make it easier for Connecticut to impose the proper restrictions on physicians practicing here who got in trouble elsewhere.

That's a good, but belated start if the legislation comes to pass. Connecticut should meet or exceed what other states do in tracking and placing appropriate restrictions on physicians who get in trouble. This state needs to take every step necessary to shed the image of a disciplinary backwater.