CT Center for Patient Safety Newsletter
Newsletter SubtitleJune 2011

Connecticut-once again ranks in the bottom ten.


Registered sex offender is back in business


Each year Public Citizen analyzes didciplinary  actions taken against physicians by state regulators.  And once again, we fall short here in Connecticut.   A recent reinstatement of the  license of a registered sex offender, should be a wake - up call to the Governor, to the legislature and to the Medical Examining Board itself. 


Investigative journalist, Lisa Checdekel from www.c-hit.org, looked into the reinstatement of Dr. Berken's license - he had surrendered his medical privileges at Greenwich Hospital and left his private pactice following his arrest in New York in 2008 on charges serious enough to require him to register as a sex offender in New York and  Connecticut.  While he will be practicing with some restrictions, I simply do not understand how anyone can rationalize his dealing with patients - even if they are over 18.  He should be able to do research or work for an insurance company, but not with patients. 


The irony is that the Department of Public Health introduced a bill intended to make it easier for Connecticut to sanction physicians whose licenses are revoked or suspended by other states. 

With complete disregard for the intent of the legislation, the Medical Examining Board wrote "although respondent's emotional disorders and mental illness are currently controlled with medication and intensive group and individual therapy, respondent's current emotional disorders and mental illness may continue to affect his ability to practice medicine."


Yet Dr. Berken's license, with restrictions, has been reinstated and Connecticut holds it's poor ranking.





Coming soon: A revamped website.



Gus Velez, board Presidident



has been on top of updating our website.   Rapid changes in technology are driving us to keep current. 




We will be launching the site over the summer.








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And again thank you.  Your generosity is what keeps us going.

Dear Members,


The 2011 legislative session is almost over.  Connecticut faced a severe budget deficit and  Governor Malloy and the General Assembly have grappled with a myriad of solutions - shared sacrifice has been the theme. 


This was the first year we did not raise our own bills. We played defense and we did it effectively.  We testified on ten different bills and we, once again, reminded legislators that Safe Harbors, exempting emergency room physcians from liability, are unacceptable. New studies have substantiated that one out of every three patients experiences some kind of error while hospitalized.


Dealing with error first, which each on of us as a healthcare consumer needs, would naturally decrease liability and improve outcomes. 


Educating elected officials may in the long run be even more important than passing legislation.  Our bills, while important, are just bandaids and have not addressed the culture that has allowed errors continue, unaddressed by the hospitals and personnel on whom we as consumers must depend.


A summary of bills that will interest you - bills on access, quality and regulatory oversight - will be included in our July newsletter.





An exciting new advocacy organization has been formed in New England  


NEVER   (Northeast Voices for Error Reduction)


A group of us met for the first time in April and came up with some goals and a 'manifesto' of sorts.  Our broader mission is to collectively harness the

great energy and progress we are making in our individual states to better leverage progress on a regional level.

With the national backdrop of the new healthcare reform law and the Partnership for Patients, we feel the time is right to pull together and find ways to strengthen our efforts through a larger and stronger  voice.

Some goals we identified and will be working on include:

  • Collecting and monitoring outcome data on a regional level and getting that into the hands of healthcare consumers, policy makers, etc.
  • Educating nursing and medical students about patient safety and the work that we do
  • Engaging Employers/employee Serving on national committees
  • Conducting monthly briefings on a variety of patient safety/healthcare quality issues via  blog and/or conference call
  • Raising awareness of our group and the work we all do at the state level
The inaugural group members include:

Jean Rexford, Brenda Shipley, Susan Manganello CTCPS
Patricia Kelmar (CT)
Lisa McGiffert (Safe Patient Project)
Kathy Day (Maine)
Deborah Wachenheim (MA Healthcare For All)
Mary Brennan-Taylor (NY)
Jeanne Keller (VT)
Gene Censi (VT)
Lori Nerbonne (NH Patient Voices)


ProPublica continues to expose conflicts of interest.
Following investigative stories on the influence of pharma and medical device makers on medical schools, and the payments to doctors by pharmaceutical companies, ProPublica has just completed an analysis of the influence of money has on Medical Professional Organizations. 
Read the whole story

Professional groups like the Heart Rhythm Society write guidelines on treatments and the use of medical devices, but researchers say their acceptance of sponsorships and grants from drug and device makers poses a conflict of interest that many patients never consider.