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“Health care must be more than affordable; it must be safe.” By Senator Richard T. Moore, Senate Chair, Committee on Health Care Financing

Nearly everyone who helped to craft Massachusetts’ landmark health care law applauded recently when affordable premiums were announced by the Commonwealth Connector. Access to affordable health care was clearly among the law’s primary goals, and it now appears that those Massachusetts residents, who haven’t enjoyed ready access to care, will be able to find a plan that fits their budget.

But if the quality of health care that is delivered puts patients at risk of injury or even death, we would not be doing our uninsured residents any favors by expanding access to health insurance. Improved health quality and safety is clearly another key goal of the new Massachusetts health law. That’s why the state this year has invested a million dollars to start a statewide infection control program and five million dollars for health information technology such as electronic health records (EHRs) and e-prescribing. It’s also why Governor Patrick has recommended additional funding for the infection control program in his new budget proposal.

This week, National Patient Safety Awareness Week, Representative Denise Provost and I, along with a number of our legislative colleagues, announced the filing of “An Act Promoting Transparency and Consumer/Provider Partnerships.” The bill, when passed, will reduce the incidence of medical errors and help control health care costs by requiring reduction of infection rates, requiring that serious errors are reported and promoting patient centered care, among other provisions. We believe that the bill will help to save millions of dollars and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of lives, thereby keeping health reform affordable for the state, employers, insurers and individuals.

Maybe you or a family member or friend experienced an infection while in the hospital, or received the wrong kind of medication. Perhaps needed care was delayed because you received an incorrect diagnosis. A coalition being organized by Health Care for All of Massachusetts wants to hear your story and seek your help in supporting this vital legislation. You can help us to make sure that those uninsured residents who now can obtain affordable health insurance and, indeed, everyone in Massachusetts can have safer, higher quality health care by sharing your story and lending your support to this safety initiative. Let’s hear from you through this blog, or contact Health Care for All at www.hcfama.org.

Senator Richard T. Moore is the Senate Chair, Committee on Health Care Financing

This program aired on March 8, 2007. The audio for this program is not available.

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