CT Center for Patient Safety
CT Center for Patient Safety Newsletter

March 2015
In This Issue

How much do insurers pay for common health services?

As cost-sharing for medical services becomes more and more prevalent and consumers are paying higher amounts out-of-pocket, the slogan, "An educated consumer is our best customer"  comes to mind.  

Interestingly, there is little pricing information for a consumer to view in order to become educated.  Many aren't even aware that what they pay for services might be negotiable.  Insurance companies negotiate prices all the time.  As individual consumers have health insurance plans with higher deductibles we are paying a greater part of our medical costs and when every penny counts, why should we pay more that the insurance companies do?  Recently, The Health Care Cost Institute, a non-profit healthcare research organization, has launched a website, guroo.com, which gives consumers a baseline price for more than 70 common health services based on the actual prices some of the nation's largest insurers pay to providers.  This information provides consumers with a starting point for discussions about prices with their providers.  Take a look at this link before you need it, so that when a situation arises, you, the patient, is a more educated consumer!


When things go wrong with Health Information Technology -

The Anthem data breach


As many of you already know, Anthem experienced a massive data breach that may have affected many of Connecticut's residents as well as people elsewhere who are insured through Anthem affiliates.  Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut is the state's largest health insurer, with 1.14 million customers.  Anthem's spokesperson said that they are taking the position that "any of our members or employees could have been at risk."  The Hartford Courant recently published an article sharing things that you can do if you are concerned that you may be a victim of this hack. 


According to a Reuters article published this past Tuesday, Anthem shared that millions of people who were not its customers could also be victims in the attack.  Anthem spokeswoman, Kristin Binns said the company believes the hacked data were restricted to names, dates of birth, member ID/Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and employment information such as income data.  Anthem has said that they will start mailing letters next week to Anthem customers and other Blue Cross Blue Shield members affected by the hacking. They will offer two years of identity theft repair assistance, credit monitoring, identity theft insurance and fraud detection.



March Health Hint: March is National Nutrition Month

This campaign focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. It  encourages everyone to adopt eating and physical activity plans that are focused on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices and getting daily exercise in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic disease and promote overall health.


Five suggestions to try are:

  • Make at least half your grains whole grains
  • Vary your veggies
  • Focus on fruit
  • Get your calcium-rich foods
  • Go lean with protein
Join Our Mailing List
Dear Members,

We are all waiting for spring, daylight savings time and an end to the snow.  In the meantime, many exciting things are happening here at CTCPS.  


We are continuing to push for greater transparency including health care prices and the delivery of services.  We are happy to see some of our representatives responding to these needs with the introduction of a number of consumer oriented healthcare sector bills this session. We are being kept busy and are glad!  On our website you can find out who your legislators are and stay in touch with what is happening in Hartford and Washington.


We continue our program to speak with and engage nursing students at the different schools throughout Connecticut.  Our stories are powerful reminders to them of the impact that they have on patients' lives and how important it is for them to use all of their nursing skills and patient safety strategies to prevent errors and infections wherever health care is provided.  We are also expanding our outreach to medical students and other health science students through some new programs that we are introducing. 

Please continue to keep up with our activities and various news stories 

that we feel are important by liking our Facebook page.  This is a format where we welcome 

your comments and you can share our  posts with others to easily spread the word.   


Feel free to contact us to share any thoughts that you might have, things that you would like to see us cover or any participation in our organization that you wish to offer. 


Lisa Freeman 

The evolving role of our pharmacists


Most often, when we are asked who our health care providers are, we do not think of our pharmacist as being a member of our care team.  However, as health care is evolving, so is the role of the pharmacist.  This is certainly seen in primary care practices across the country that are following the patient-centered medical home model, based on a higher level of care coordination.  We are also seeing the pharmacist's role changing at some of the local pharmacies in our neighborhoods.  At most pharmacies, there is a counselling window where consumers are able to ask questions of the pharmacist, but at some pharmacies, the involvement of the pharmacist in patient care is much greater and is leading to higher levels of patient medication adherence and better medical outcomes.  Did you know that pharmacists can provide a comprehensive review of your prescribed and over-the-counter medications?  They can assess your medication(s) for appropriateness, efficacy, safety, and adherence so that patients will get the best results. They can work with patients to develop a personal medication care plan to support better self-management goals. Importantly, they can also document and communicate your care plan to you and your health care providers - in other words, facilitate this part of care coordination. In addition, there are other supports that some pharmacies are now offering including bubble packing a patient's medications which can lead to less missed dosages and easier medications management.  If you feel that these services might help you or someone you know with their medication adherence or understanding, ask your pharmacist if they offer these services.

Oral health and your overall well-being


Infographics provided courtesy of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.
Infographic provided courtesy of the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.


According to the Mayo Clinic, your oral health offers clues about your overall health.  In addition, problems that occur in your mouth can impact your overall health.  Good oral hygiene reduces the chance of bacteria causing infections in your mouth and elsewhere.  Also, certain medications can reduce your saliva which also protects you from certain bacteria causing infections.  While this is an aspect of health care that is often overlooked, it is certainly one that should not be.  Check with your doctor or dentist if you have concerns related to your oral health.

Connecticut's changing 

hospital landscape



Something concerning is happening in Connecticut and nationwide. Hospitals are converting, consolidating, and collaborating.  Watch this short video from Universal Healthcare Foundation to learn what that means and how could it affect you.