CT Center for Patient Safety Newsletter
March 2012

Don Berwick


On his last day as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Dr. Berwick described "the extremely high level of waste."  The waste includes overtreatment of patients, failure to coordinate care, the administrative complexity of the health care system, burdensome rules and fraud.


"Much is done that does not help patients at all and many physicians know it," Dr, Berwick said in his closing remarks.


He believes that Medicare and Medicaid could save $150 billion to $250 billion a year by eliminating waste, which he defines as activities that do not have any value.


Dr. Berwick is a leader - a man of inordinate courage and clarity of his own moral compass - believing that healthcare is about us - about safe and careful care.


He will be missed.



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Save the Date

The Carlson Forum

June 12, 2012


Wethersfield Community Center at 9 am

Two nationally known and CTCPS supporters, Rosemary Gibson and Dr. Steve Smith


Getting the Right Care

No More, No Less


Open to the public at no cost.


Dear Members,


It is not too late for you to register:

RSVP to 877-783-7262 by March 5th.


Patient Safety Starts with "Me"
Nationally recognized patient safety advocate and founder of Mothers Against Medical Error will be offering a free program, open to the public on
MARCH 7, 1:00 to 3:00 at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical center, Chawla auditorium.
Helen Haskell, the keynote speaker, is joined by a panel of physicians and patient advocates (me!) to discuss ways to get the most out of your hospital care.  The program will include tips on how to better prepare for your hospital stay, how to navigate the hospital system and how to recognize and act upon any problems should they occur during your hospital stay.
This is very exciting.  It is a first for us - working with a hospital and some very special physicians who care as much as we do about patient safety.
Hope to see you there.
Medical Device Makers in DC
senator blumenthal

Despite the testimony of people like
Caroline Sires and Senator Blumenthal's important legislative initiative supporting better FDA oversight of the the Medical Device industry, the industry seems to be scaring Congress into believing that should we do the right thing, American jobs will go overseas.

When I was in Washington earlier this month, I felt the profound disconnect between Congress and what the public is experiencing.  Our delegation said that they were just hearing from manufacturers and not from the public.  Please, call your Congressman and say you support greater regulation of the industry.

Caroline who received the highly defective metal on metal hip, or Mary Beth who had implanted in her the disintegrating cervical mesh, have both had five surgeries and face a lifetime of pain.  Preventable damage cannot be undone in these women who fight daily to live a "normal life."  Thank you Mary Beth and Caroline for speaking up.  Now it is up to the rest of us.
CTCPS and this year's legislative session
It looks like the emergency room doctors are backing a bill that would exempt them from liability.  What is interesting to us is that none of us can recall a medical malpractice case that resulted in emergency room care, or the lack of it.  They are also saying that doctors are leaving the state.  Yet Connecticut still has no clear idea of just how many doctors and nurses are actually practicing.

We are supporting legislation that would require on line licensure of all doctors, dentist and nurses.  In order to implement fundamental health reform, we need to know the numbers.  I have never believed that doctors are leaving our state...where would they go? 

The Department of Public Health has introduced legislation that would reform some of the ways in which the Medical Examining Board fundtions.  We are watching closely and applaud efforts at reform.

An important initiative is ours - requiring nursing homes to cover medical malpractice insurance.  The Office of Inspector General issued a report in early January 2012 substantiating that there are 130,000 Medicare beneficiaries who experience an adverse event EACH MONTH!   I cannot even imagine what it is like in nursing homes.  The DPH is understaffed and the fines are so small that these fines may be just the cost of doing business for some nursing homes.