Boston Part 1: The Grassroots of a First-of-Its-Kind Law

I flew to Boston on Monday, September 16, for a conference put on by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, which was to be held the next morning. Earlier in the week Jim Conway from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement contacted me and told me about a group in Boston that was doing some interesting things in the patient safety advocacy vein. He suggested that we meet.

And so Monday night I had dinner with five people from Health Care for All (HCA). HCA is a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization that is working to- among other things- create greater quality health care throughout the state. You can read all about them on their website. HCA sponsors the Consumer Health Quality Council- a very active and renowned coalition of health care consumers who have been personally affected by medical errors. The Council was created in 2006 and currently has about 40 members who are doing some impressive things: sharing their medical error stories with the public, advocating for improved health care, and meeting with legislators to introduce health care improvements into law.
A recent success included their year and a half-long work in the development and signing of a groundbreaking state law that includes:
  • mandatory reporting of all hospital-acquired infections
  • mandatory reporting of all “never events”
  • creation of rapid response methods at all hospitals
  • creation of patient/family councils at hospitals.
This was an interesting group. I urge those of you reading this who want to make changes within your state to check them out.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more from my trip to Boston, including the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts’ patient safety event.