CT Center for Patient Safety
October 2012
In This Issue
Jennifer Jaff 1957 - 2012
Institute of Medicine Report is out!
Profit over Patient
CTCPS's Outreach Education Program is Growing







Jennifer Jaff

Advocate For The Chronically Ill

1957 - 2012

FARMINGTON - - Jennifer Jaff, whose struggle with Crohn's disease prompted her to create an organization to advocate for others who suffer from chronic illnesses, has died. Jaff, 55, of Farmington, was executive director of Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness Inc., the nonprofit group she founded in 2005. She died Sept. 14.

She created the organization, set up a website, wrote a book to answer the most common questions she received and went to work. From her Farmington condominium she filed appeals with health insurance companies to get treatment, helped people assert their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act, negotiated for reasonable accommodations at work and school for people with chronic illnesses, and helped people in other ways.

According to the organization's website, http://www.advocacyforpatients.org, it has won 80 percent of the insurance claims it has filed. Jaff had the assistance of staff, volunteers and interns.

"She meant a lot to people because all of her clients knew that she would never refuse any opportunity to help them," said Carol Fain Walters, president of the board of directors of Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness. "She had an extreme amount of energy for someone who is suffering from Crohn's disease herself and worked relentlessly."

When the Supreme Court in June upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Jaff celebrated it as a momentous step forward for people with chronic illnesses.

She termed the law's guarantee of coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions, beginning in 2014, "the most important civil rights advance for people with chronic illnesses ever. There can never be equality if we can't get health insurance."

Jennifer, you will be sorely missed.


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Dear Members,
The Joint Commission has just issued a report on hospitals who are the Top Performers on Key Quality Measures™ in 2011.  There are 620 hospitals listed, up over 50% (by 215) from 2010 , with 244 hospitals receiving recognition two years in a row.  Many major academic medical centers failed to make the list.  Most alarming is that Connecticut did not have even one hospital that made the list.  What is going on?  We keep hearing about patient safety initiatives, but we want to see the results.  Getting a C or even a B grade is simply not a good enough rating if you or a family member is hospitalized.  Our surrounding states, with smaller populations and fewer hospitals, did better.  New Hampshire  - 4, Vermont -3 and Rhode Island had one hospital that was a Top Performer.
We need to increase transparency of what is going on inside the doors of our medical institutions.  I believe that Transparency will lead to Accountability....  Accountability will lead to Action....  and we want Action NOW! 

Waste in the health care system

and even more importantly - harm.


In a new Institute of Medicine report, researchers concluded that despite an explosion in innovation and the capacity to manage previously found conditions, our delivery system is short on applying the new evidence to patient care and is marred by significant shortcomings and inefficiencies that result in missed opportunities, waste and harm to patients. The report concluded that 30 cents of every dollar is squandered.  The IOM report analyzed 2009 data and showed that $210 billion was spent on unnecessary services such as repeated tests and another $13 billion spent on inefficiently delivered services, such as a scan performed in a hospital rather than at an outpatient center.


It showed the system (if you can call it that), wasting $75 billion a year on fraud, $55 billion on missed prevention opportunities and another $190 billion on paperwork and other unnecessary administrative costs.


Most disturbing was the human suffering that all of this has caused.  "if the care in every state were of the quality delivered by the highest performing state, an estimated 75,000 fewer deaths would have occurred across the country in 2005."

Profit over Patient


For three years, we worked to pass  legislation providing requiring the reporting of gifts from the pharmaceutical industry to our doctors.  Connecticut passed such a watered down bill, that there was little substance to the legislation.  It  read that the pharmaceutical companies had to have a code of ethics and follow that code.  Massachusetts had led the way in 2009.  But now, with what I am sure was constant pressure from the industries that enjoy such very big profits, the State has issued temporary regulations that will gut the existing drug and device marketing regulations - small steps in curbing marketing abuse and addressing spiraling health care costs.  Community Catalyst, a national leader in non conflicted prescribing has called this a shocking capitulation to industry.


While I am on the topic of drugs and pharmaceuticals - the New York Times reports that the fifth and sixth best selling drugs in our country are Abilify and Seroquel, two powerful antipsychotics.  These drugs were prescribed to 3.1 million Americans at a cost of $18.2 billion dollars, a 13% increase over the previous year.  The market for these drugs is patients with schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder and these are relatively small populations.  But the drug companies have a powerful incentive to explore other uses and target other populations.  The advertising budget for these drugs increased dramatically.  Consumers need to know how much of that money is directed at psychiatrists.  There is no free lunch and the unsuspecting patient could be paying the price. 

CTCPS's Outreach Education Program is Growing


Our outreach program to nursing schools and other health care professionals is going very well.  We want our readers to know that we have an extraordinary Board of Directors.   The sharing of stories, which is putting a face and a meaning to the grim statistics, is allowing us to reach the next generation of care providers.  Hats off to their work. 


We have a speakers bureau, so if you or someone you know might be interested, please call our office.  Our biggest challenge is getting people - both providers and patients - to understand the human toll and the real cost of patient harm as well as the ways that it can be prevented BEFORE any preventable harm happens. 

patient pod

Pat Masters, a Rhode Island advocate, has created the Patient Pod.  Go to her website - thepatientpod.com for more  detailed information.


This is the perfect gift for someone who is in the hospital  or in a nursing home.


Like you, Pat wants to improved outcomes of care.


The Pod is a very practical and useful tool to help make that happen.