The mission of Washington Advocates for Patient Safety (WAPS) is to promote accountability, quality, safety, and responsibility in patient care. As the voice of patients, their goals are to eliminate medical errors and harm and to save more lives.
Wrong surgery, wrong medication, serious bedsores… Unsafe practices and poor quality care kill 98,000 patients each year and waste billions of dollars every year. What information do you have about the safety of your hospital? What protections do you have if the hospital makes a mistake with you?
Consumers Union Documents
- Consumers Union comments to National Quality Forum (NQF) on sociodemographic factors Source: Consumers Union (Wednesday April 16, 2014)
Consumers Union letter to National Quality Forum on its draft report “Risk Adjustment for Socioeconomic Status or Other Sociodemographic Factors” regarding risk-adjustment for some provider performance measures. CU’s primary concern is that such adjustments will hide differences in outcomes on quality and safety measures that exist when health care is delivered to patients from certain sociodemographic groups – for example, low-income, race, or age. Performance measures should reveal these differences.
- Video: Testimony of Consumers Union at Senate hearing on medical errors Source: Bernie Sanders (Friday July 18, 2014)
Watch Lisa McGiffert (Consumers Union Safe Patient Project Director) testify at a Senate hearing on medical errors, the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
- Consumers Union's Testimony at Senate Hearing: More Than 1,000 Preventable Deaths a Day Is Too Many Source: Consumers Union (Thursday July 17, 2014)
Lisa McGiffert, Campaign Director for Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project, testified at a Senate HELP subcommittee hearing on medical errors, July 17, 2014.
- Patient Safety Advocates Urge the Creation of a National Patient Safety Board to Fight Medical Errors Source: Consumers Union (Tuesday July 15, 2014)
A network of patient safety advocates is urging Congress to take steps to improve patient safety by preventing hospital acquired infections and other preventable medical errors.
- Top-scoring hospitals for heart surgery Source: Consumer Reports (Wednesday July 2, 2014)
Consumer Reports’ Ratings of more than 400 hospitals can help you find the right one, plus tips on finding a heart hospital.
Consumers Union News Releases
- Patient Safety Advocates Urge the Creation of a National Patient Safety Board to Fight Medical Errors
Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project to Highlight Need in Senate Testimony
- Consumers Union To Hold “Ending Medical Harm” Conference at Columbia University On November 6th
CONSUMERS UNION NEWS RELEASE For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 Contact: Michael McCauley, firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-902-9537 (cell) or Ross Moonie, email@example.com or 917-690-5713 or Joe Duraes, firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-293-0100 Consumers Union To Hold “Ending Medical Harm” Conference at Columbia University On November 6 Conference To Focus on Tackling The 3rd Leading Cause of Death Continue Reading
- Ending Medical Harm: Tackling the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. Agenda
The Safe Patient Project is hosting a forum on medical harm at the Columbia School of Journalism Lecture Hall, November 6, 2013, 10:00 am -3:00.
- Medicare Study Shows Most Medical Errors Go Unreported
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new study released today by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found that hospital employees are only reporting fourteen percent of all medical errors and usually don’t change their practices to prevent future harm to patients.
- HHS Announces National Campaign to Improve Patient Safety
CONSUMERS UNION SAFE PATIENT PROJECT — NEWS RELEASE Please Note: Consumers Union can connect reporters with patients who have suffered from hospital infections and other medical harm. To find out more, contact Michael McCauley at email@example.com For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 Contact: Michael McCauley (firstname.lastname@example.org), 415-902-9537 (cell), 415-431-6747,
- What You Need To Know Before Getting Heart Surgery
Our Consumer Reports colleagues published an informative report on heart surgery to help you make informed choices when you make life and death decisions.
- California Safe Patient activists celebrate progress and testify at Medical Board of California meeting
A week ago, our Consumers Union (CU) Safe Patient Project staff went to sunny California to meet with our network of activists that are working to protect CA patients from medical harm. Find out what we did!
- Consumer Reports shows you what hospitals don’t want you to know about C-sections
Consumer Reports has today released groundbreaking hospital ratings by C-section rates, informing the public about which hospitals perform C-sections at higher rates than others for low-risk deliveries…
- Study: 1 in 20 patients misdiagnosed in outpatient settings
A new study published in the BMJ Quality & Safety journal found that at least one in twenty patients is misdiagnosed in an outpatient setting, which can put them at risk. NBC News covered this new study, and quoted our Safe Patient Project Director Lisa McGiffert.
- Safe Patient Project teams up with Maine activist Kathy Day
Safe Patient Project’s Daniela Nunez went to healthcare and patient safety-related meetings in Maine this week, joining activist Kathy Day who won a patient partnership award at the Maine Quality Counts conference. Read about important health care conversations happening in Maine.
- Maryland hospitals aren't reporting all errors and complications, experts say Source: Baltimore Sun (Saturday July 26, 2014)
What information patients can find on medical errors at [Maryland] hospitals “is sorely lacking, unvalidated and without much meaning to the general public,” said Michael Bennett, who became a patient safety advocate after his 88-year-old father’s death.
- Patients remain in danger from preventable errors Source: Fierce Healthcare (Friday July 18, 2014)
“To better reduce preventable errors, the Senate should establish a National Patient Safety Board, akin to the existing National Transportation Safety Board, testified John James, Ph.D.”
- Medical Errors Third Leading Cause of Death, Senators Told Source: Health Leaders (Thursday July 17, 2014)
At senate hearing testimony from Lisa McGiffert (Consumers Union) and others about the need for better reporting of medical errors and infections.
- MLive hospital infection stories Source: MLive (Monday June 23, 2014)
Link to MLive coverage of hospital infections in Michigan.
- How safe is your hospital? Chance of serious complications varies widely Source: Dallas Morning News (Saturday June 21, 2014)
Dallas Morning News investigation of Texas hospital complication rates.
Research and Reports
- Patient Safety America Newsletter (April 2014) Source: Patient Safety America (Tuesday April 1, 2014)
Summary from John James: For many around the country spring cannot come too soon. Sadly, spring will not come again for too many Americans who sought only to be healed of their illness, and instead experienced a preventable adverse event that harmed them to death. I am sad for those who lost loved ones in the Oso mudslide and in the Malaysian jet disappearance, but far, far more human lives were cut short by suboptimal medical care. I offer this month’s newsletter as a tribute to all who have been lost in the last month to medical errors. They are nameless like the Unknown Soldier; however, few pay any attention to their passing.
Newsletter contents this month are as follows:
• Harm to nursing home patients
• C diff infections – kids and adults
• Do you really need a transfusion?
• White-coat infections
• Beware high-dose acetaminophen
• Surgical site infections in out-patients
• Hospital-dependent patients
• Infections from endoscopes
- Patient Safety America Newsletter (March 2014) Source: Patient Safety America (Friday February 28, 2014)
Summary from John James: “Spring’s renewal of life has arrived in my neighborhood with robins hopping around and trees budding. I saw a spectacular red-bud tree yesterday near a bayou. One must hope that our country will renew its efforts to intelligently manage the way healthcare is delivered in America. As far as I can tell the non-system is not working well for anyone but a few medical specialists. This month’s newsletter addresses the following topics:
• Continuing efforts to identify and discontinue worthless tests and treatments
• The over use of Pap tests in older women
• The failure of renal artery stenting to add value to optimal medical treatment
• Welcome evidence that patient safety is improving in some instances
• Trust and mistrust of medical guidelines
• The case for less mammography screening
• Ways smoking can be further reduced
• Troubled peer review in VA hospitals
• The case for improving management of obesity in very young children
I might note that just as this issue was “going to press” the Houston Chronicle ran a front page story called “Preschooler Obesity Plunges.” It explained that there has been a 43% drop in obesity rate in 2-5 year old children during the past decade.”
- Patient Safety America Newsletter (February 2014) Source: Patient Safety America (Sunday February 2, 2014)
Summary from John James: “The first article in this month’s newsletter describes the new guidelines for management of high blood pressure and the second speaks to new guidelines for healthy living. Both sets of guidelines seem to me to be more realistic than previous ones. In keeping with the guideline theme, the third article summarizes how “patient preferences” could be integrated into evidence-based medical guidelines. This is an important area because patient-centered care must be consistent with your preferences.
I was surprised to read the complications that result from tonsillectomies, so I wrote about that in the 4th article. Treating healthcare associated infections is expensive; find out how expensive in the 5th article. Informed consent, the subject of the 5th article, is often denied patients, despite the sham paperwork that often accompanies the pre-surgical process. The concluding article summarizes how the perverse incentive of money affects the care received by nursing home patients with advanced dementia and an acute illness. If you are looking after such a person, then you need to be aware of the incentives to over-treat.”
- Patient Safety America Newsletter (January 2014) Source: Patient Safety America (Sunday December 29, 2013)
Summary by John James: As this traditional holiday season passes into history, I hope you have found peace and joy as you celebrated with family and friends. We face a new year that has many uncertainties, not the least of which is how to get quality, affordable healthcare. My January newsletter is probably not going to help you feel better about those uncertainties.
The lead feature this month is a book review of “How We Do Harm” by Otis Brawley, MD. The other articles are as follows:
• A new way to dramatically improve care in a children’s hospitals
• Medical care that refuses to bend to evidence-based guidelines
• The cost of lost lives from having no health insurance
• The possible health benefit of eating nuts
• Over-diagnosis of lung cancer
• A proposal to deal with Medicaid patients
• Dealing with seasonal weight gain
- Patient Safety America Newsletter (December 2013) Source: Patient Safety America (Sunday December 8, 2013)
Summary from John James: “December’s newsletter is a little late due in part to a long and joyful visit of my daughter’s family. Her two little children remind me that there is a good reason why old folks are not new parents – insufficient energy! These little ones also remind me that each generation must pass along better ways to the next generation. Automobile safety, industrial safety, and aviation safety have improved greatly since the days when I was a young man with small children, yet the safety of medical care has lagged other industries. This month I emphasize some reasons for that situation: lack of patient access to information, perverse incentives that drive up costs and put patients in harm’s way, costs that cause harm to people who cannot afford care, insufficient evaluations of hospital quality, failure to help patients with addictive behaviors, barriers to transparency, and inadequate management of hospital patient loads. Yes, it’s all a mess.”