CT Center for Patient Safety Newsletter
September 2011


CTCPS undertakes a new initiative


Last year we joined forces with the other New England states' advocates and formed NEVER - Northeast Voices for Error Reduction.  At a meeting, a Buffalo, New York advocate  talked about speaking to nurses in her city, and a light bulb lit up: this is something we in CT are positioned to do - and to do [it] very well.

We immediately got to work, knowing that our organization offered an important perspective on patient safety.  We sent out twenty letters to the state's nursing school deans and we already have six speaking engagements this fall.  We have been rehearsing and revising.  Susan Manganello and John Torello will follow the history and statistics Power Point slides with their own personal stories of failures in the system that caused grief and anguish within their own families. Nurses are - and can be an even greater - part of the solution to medical error.  If you have connections with nursing schools, let us know.  We want to expand our efforts across the state.



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Dear Members,


Many of you have visited our newly designed website - www.ctcps.org - and commented. Thank you for the feedback. When I reflect on our six years, I believe our greatest strength is our mission and all of you. As the consumer voice, we meet an unmet need - we just need to gain more allies and speak with a stronger voice.

The Connecticut Center for Patient Safety works to

  1. Promote patient safety
  2. Improve the quality of health care &
  3. Protect the rights of patients.

It sounds so simple - so right. Yet we are up against such giant industries. It is because of all of you that we have managed to accomplish so much. My heartfelt thanks.




Lives and Money are at stake


The unsuspecting health care consumer believes that medical devices are

inspected before being approved by the FDA. They are incorrect. A recent report by the Institute of Medicine has called for the FDA to scrap its current screening system because they are failing miserably to protect the public. The executive editor of the New England Journal of Medicine has reached the same conclusion. Needless to say,  device manufacturers are dismissing the reports and insisting  they are doing a fine job!


Currently, medical devices considered to be of moderate risk can be approved without testing if they are deemed to be substantially equivalent to similar devices already on the market. Variations of hips and knees, pacemakers, and heart catheters are now being used with little or no scrutiny and have caused harm. Doctors have often been paid vast sums of money - yes, millions - to promote a specific device.

Some 93,000 people have been implanted with DePuy's ASR hip system worldwide and now it is being recalled. Metal on metal has not worked for some patients and Johnson & Johnson is now trying to head off lawsuits


Consumers need to scream. When  will we have had enough? It is time to demand greater regulation, not less, when it comes to our health.
Medicare Fraud

 Merrill Goozman

  1.  Miami-area Doctor Pleads Guilty in $25 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme
  2. Owner of Miami-area Mental Health Care Corporation Convicted on All Counts for Orchestrating $205 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme
  3. Miami-area Medical Equipment Company Owners Sentenced to Prison for Medicare Fraud Scheme
  4. Former chair of Temple's Opthalmology Department convicted of fraud - he caused thousands of false claims to be submitted for more than $4.5 million.
Last month, the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that costs grew by only 3.9 percent last year (not adjusted for inflation), the slowest rate of growth since the inception of the program. Health care as a share of the economy did not grow for the first time in years. In other words, health care costs last year were essentially "under control."
Think there's any connection between slowing health care cost growth and fraud? Here's a sentence from the final paragraph of the latest press release from the Office of Inspector General. The "Strike Force" refers to the special unit set up in CMS to search out fraud, which has gotten a huge boost in funding and support during Obama's first three years in office:
Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,000 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.3 billion.
Cracking down on fraud within Medicare could save the program for all of us.