Cutler Institute for Health and Social Policy

Population Health and Health Policy

Strategies for Improving Patient Safety in Small Rural Hospitals

Abstract: 

The Tennessee Rural Hospital Patient Safety Demonstration Project sought to improve patient safety in small rural facilities by strengthening their capacity to implement priority patient safety interventions. The project focused on interventions relevant to the core services and capacities of rural hospitals and was sensitive to their structure and processes. A process for assessing the status of hospital patient safety programs and providing technical assistance tools, and resources was developed. Organizational and clinical changes designed to prevent errors and improve safety were initiated. Eight participating hospitals completed a self-assessment tool to identify and prioritize rural hospital patient safety interventions. These hospitals implemented three interventions: assessment of patient safety culture and implementation of a safety culture plan, development and implementation of emergency department protocols, and use of personal digital assistant devices (PDAs) by clinicians at the point of care to decrease medication errors.

Publication Type: 
Book Chapter
Publish Date: 
July 1, 2008
URL: 
http://www.ahrq.gov/downloads/pub/advances2/vol2/Advances-Tupper_73.pdf

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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