Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Landscape of Patient Safety Activities in Maine


The purpose of this report is to provide the Maine Quality Forum and the Dirigo Health Agency with baseline information that identifies the scope and depth of current patient safety initiatives in Maine.
The landscape review of patient safety activities in Maine includes data collected through three different lenses. First, the team completed an environmental scan of patient safety activities in other states and explored the various configurations of formal organizational patient safety activities. Second, a convenience sample online survey was conducted with Maine healthcare stakeholders to gather specific information about activities and needs for additional efforts. Finally, follow-up interviews were conducted with key informants to gain a deeper understanding of the Maine landscape of patient safety activity.

Key Findings:

  • The environmental scan suggests that state agencies and the Maine healthcare community are very active in addressing certain patient safety topics. Other states offer a more comprehensive approach, notably partnerships that bring broad based financial and human resource support to population-based improvement strategies. Maine currently does not have an organization with Patient Safety Organization (PSO) federal designation other than one private firm which contracts with anesthesiology practices around the country.
  • Survey results indicated extremely strong interest in basic education and training in patient safety both for current healthcare professionals and those individuals in the higher education pipeline. Patient safety is a recent discipline and there is in fact, some catching up to do. These results were confirmed by the key informant interviews. Many respondents believe that there is strong value in state-wide educational efforts and see a role for state leadership to drive this endeavor.
  • The importance of sharing data to learn from errors and near misses was a recurring theme and may require  the impartiality of a state-supported or PSO group to achieve wide-spread and transparent usefulness.
  • There was an overwhelming expression of interest and need for infection control and prevention education and improvement work within Maine.

Suggested Citation:

Tupper J, Gray C. Landscape of Patient Safety Activities in Maine. Portland, ME: University of Southern Maine, Muskie School of Public Service; February, 2012.

Publication Type: 
Publish Date: 
February 28, 2012

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.

New Chartbook on the Use of Maine's Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS)

Long Term Services and Supports Cover page image

Long term services and supports (LTSS) are a vital lifeline for the thousands of Maine adults who need them, and they account for a significant portion of the state's Medicaid (MaineCare) budget.This Chartbook prepared by the research staff at the USM Muskie School, provides information on all Maine adults who use LTSS: older adults; adults with physical disabilities; adults with intellectual disabilities/autism spectrum disorder or other related conditions; and adults with acquired brain injury.

The information provided in this Chartbook about the demographic trends that impact Maine's service system as well as data on the typical MaineCare service utilization and expenditures of different LTSS populations will inform the discussion among policymakers, providers, consumers, and advocates as they work together to ensure that Maine’s system of LTSS meets the needs of all its citizens.

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