In Massachusetts and nationally, policymakers and government have focused on patient safety and health care quality as major priorities in order to improve health and reduce the escalating costs of health care. In recent years, public reporting of serious reportable events and healthcare-acquired infections has given greater transparency to these often preventable incidents.

This chapter gives an overview of some of the data held by the Department associated with health care quality. As Paula Griswold states in her Policy Perspective for this chapter, "The impact on patient safety is already visible. These activities sustain healthcare leadership focus on these patient safety priorities, ensure public accountability, and accelerate progress through shared learning. Safety in health care is of paramount importance to the success of health care reform and the lives of patients. Massachusetts has much to be proud of in its bold steps in public reporting and prevention efforts. Our hospitals and health care facilities are partners in this successful transition to greater transparency and continuing improvement."

In this Chapter

  • Serious Reportable Events (in Hospitals)
  • Healthcare-Acquired Infections (in Hospitals)
  • Licensure and Inspections of Massachusetts Health Care Facilities
  • Falls in Nursing Homes
  • Utilization of Nursing Homes
  • Emergency Department Diversions
  • Policy Perspectives: Paula Griswold, Executive Director, Massachusetts Coalition for the Prevention of Medical Errors

For more data or information on topics in Chapter 4:

  • Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality (MDPH)
    This bureau is the area of the Department responsible for assuring that health care providers and health facilities provide safe, quality, and appropriate care. From the licensing of health care professionals such as nurses and pharmacists, to the regulation and monitoring of pre-hospital ambulance services and licensure of hospital and long-term care facilities, the bureau works to assure that safe and appropriate care is provided to Massachusetts residents.

  • Ambulance Diversion
    On January 1, 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) instituted the first statewide ban on ambulance diversion in the country. Since that time and as shown in the Health of Massachusetts Chapter 4, diversions have been eliminated in Massachusetts. Data is also available on over-crowding in emergency departments and waiting times. In the months since the policy has been enacted, data collected indicate that wait times at emergency departments have not increased, even without diversion as an option.

  • Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI)
    MDPH maintains a reporting system of HAIs; this system began in 2008 and annual reports will be been generated for each reporting period.
    Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) in Massachusetts Acute Care Hospitals July 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009 (PDF) pdf format of hai-report.pdf
rtf format of                             hai-report.rtf
    Appendices pdf format of hai-report-appendices.pdf
  (PDF) pdf format of hai-report-appendices.pdf
rtf format of                             hai-report-appendices.rtf                file size 1MB

  • Nursing Homes
    The Health of Massachusetts includes some information on nursing home falls and utilization. The Department also produces reports on:

    Nursing home evaluation and performance reports

List of figures and tables

Download these figures in .jpeg format to use in your own presentations.


This information is provided by the Department of Public Health.