Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety and Medical Error Reduction
501 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116
Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety and Medical Error Reduction is an independent state agency with a broad mandate to improve patient safety in Massachusetts. It is named for Betsy Lehman, a Boston Globe health care reporter and mother who died at the age of 39 in 1994 as the result of an overdose of a chemotherapy drug.
In the years since Betsy's death, improved patient safety measures have been implemented in Massachusetts and nationwide. But preventable harm through mistakes made during medical care remains a critical issue.
Up to 400,000 deaths each year are associated with preventable adverse events in American hospitals. Medical errors also occur in doctors' offices, nursing homes, clinics, pharmacies and patients' homes, and can result in additional or prolonged treatment, disability or death. This makes medical error the third-leading cause of death in the country, behind only heart disease and cancer.
The high costs – both financial and suffering by patients and families – demand even greater strides towards reducing medical error today.
Betsy Lehman Center (BLC) was originally launched in 2004 within the state's Executive Office of Health and Human Services and operated within the Department of Public Health. It was reestablished in 2013 as an independent agency within the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA). BLC is now led by Executive Director Barbara Fain who is appointed by a Board comprised of the Attorney General, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs, and Executive Director of CHIA. Learn more about Betsy Lehman Center.
Patient safety must be part of Mass. health care agenda
- Barbara Fain, Executive Director, Betsy Lehman Center, Boston Globe, Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Massachusetts has established an ambitious agenda to contain cost and improve the quality of health care across the state through transparency, efficiency and innovation. But what is the value of a more efficient health care delivery system if patients are at significant risk of being harmed by mistakes made in their health care? A staggering number of Massachusetts residents — almost one in four — reported having experienced a medical error in the past five years in a survey conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health and released earlier this month. Well over half of those errors resulted in serious health consequences…Read more