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Thank you Nancy Ridley!

Thank you Nancy Ridley!

November 19, 2009
Nancy Ridley being congratulated by DPH Commissioner Auerbach

Nancy Ridley being congratulated by DPH Commissioner Auerbach

The Public Health Council met on Wednesday for its monthly meeting. The Council meeting was the last time Nancy Ridley would present to the group, and as Commissioner Auerbach noted, “probably no person has come before the PHC as many times as Nancy.”

Nancy started her career with the Department of Public Health in 1977. In her 32 years with the Administration, she has worked on a myriad of issues, including emergency preparedness, laboratory regulations, food and drug programs and health care quality. For the past 8 years, Nancy Ridley has been the Executive Director of the Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety and Medical Error Reduction. The Commissioner thanked Nancy for her patient safety program legacy in the Commonwealth and announced that the 2009 Betsy Lehman Center Award in Patient Safety will now be called the Nancy Ridley Award.

Public Health Council member Albert Sherman stated that former Speaker Tom Finneran once said that Nancy Ridley was one of the 2 most powerful women in the state and everyone needed to know her to get anything done. HCFA joins others in thanking Nancy for her leadership, dedication and vision on patient and consumer safety issues in the state. We wish her all the best!

The meeting began with the release of the third expert panel report from the Betsy Lehman Center. The Center was created by Legislative statute in 2001, thanks to the dedication in large part of Senator Richard Moore. The Center serves as a clearing house for the development, evaluation and dissemination of best practices for patient safety and medical error reduction. The report covered Patient Safety in Obstetrics in Massachusetts. Despite the line item for this report being slashed as a result of 9C cuts, it was finished and released. The report made recommendations concerning electronic fetal monitoring, elective delivery, the need for hospitals to ensure that labor and delivery unit staff are well-rested, and pre-natal records being available when patients arrive in the unit. The report also noted the dramatic increase in cesarean section rates over the past decade. Finally the report recommended that every maternity hospital should have clinical guidelines and protocols for the care and management of maternal hemorrhage (from 1997-2007 there were 18 maternal deaths related to maternal hemorrhage in the Commonwealth).

The PHC also received a presentation on a DPH report on the MassHealth Smoking Cessation program and an update on H1N1 by Dr. Lauren Smith, DPH Medical Director.
-Mehreen Butt