• Betsy Lehman

    The 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.

    More than 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.

    The Center's Role in Patient Safety

    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 was appointed by a Board comprised of Attorney General Martha Coakley, Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz, Undersecretary of Consumer Affairs Barbara Anthony, and Áron Boros, Executive Director of the CHIA.

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