Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Implementing Patient Safety Initiatives in Rural Hospitals

Abstract: 

Implementation of patient safety initiatives can be costly in time and energy. Because of small volumes and limited resources, rural hospitals often are not included in nationally driven patient safety initiatives. This article describes the Tennessee Rural Hospital Patient Safety Demonstration project, whose goal was to strengthen capacity for patient safety initiatives in 8 small Tennessee rural hospitals using a multi-organizational collaborative model. The demonstration identified and facilitated implementation of 3 patient safety interventions: the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) patient safety culture survey, use of personal digital assistants (PDAs), and sharing of emergency room protocols. The experience suggested that a collaborative model between rural hospitals, a payer, a hospital association, a quality improvement organization, and academic institutions can effectively support patient safety activities in rural hospitals. Successful implementation of the 3 patient safety interventions depended on leadership provided by nursing and patient safety/quality managers and open, trusting communications within the hospitals. [article abstract]

Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Publish Date: 
September 23, 2009
URL: 
http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122606546/abstract

Cutler Institute awarded $600,000 to help youth raised in foster system

Marty Zanghi

USM's Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy has been awarded a $600,000 grant to help young people raised in Maine's foster system to prepare for college and the workforce.

The money comes from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as part of a $5.4 million national effort aimed at youth who are homeless or in either the foster care or juvenile justice systems.

"Many of these young people have suffered abuse or trauma and were raised in poverty and neglect," said Marty Zanghi, the Cutler Center's youth development director.

The money -- including an expected $400,000 more in matching funds -- will pay for contracted work with agencies in the target areas, starting with the greater Portland area and Penobscot, Kennebec and Somerset counties.

Nationally and in Maine, only about 3 percent of people who grow up in the foster care system achieve a college degree, he said.

"It's dramatically lower than the rate for the general population," Zanghi said. "It's a horrible outcome."

It doesn't have to be that way, though.

"There are young people that overcome these circumstances," he said. "I know people who have master's degrees and Ph.Ds."

The Casey Foundation's national effort is being called the "Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential" (LEAP) initiative.

The initiative is working on partnerships in Maine and nine other areas: Alaska, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. In each case, people will adapt two evidence-based models to meet the needs of these youth, including support to address the trauma they may have experienced in their lives.

In Maine, the work will include a pair of successful programs, Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) and Jobs for the Future. Results will be carefully tracked, Zanghi said.

After the first year, the program is expected to grow.

"Eventually, the additional help will be available to all children, 14 and over, in the foster care system in the state of Maine," Zanghi said.

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