Alan’s travels through the world of patient safety have been on a dual path – professionally, through his work at the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and, personally, as a result of his mother’s death from a medical error.
Before Alan retired in January 2008, he worked for the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG), Office of Evaluation & Inspections. While at OIG he coordinated over 100 national studies of HHS programs including the following: Agency for Health Care Research and Quality management of patient safety grants; quality of care at community health centers; performance of state medical boards; never events under Medicare; Joint Commission oversight of hospitals; Medicare Reimbursement for Electric Shock Therapy; minority access to organ transplantation; health care for Native Americans; National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service; Medicaid Home & Community Based Waivers; healthcare provided by rural health clinics.
Alan chaired the OIG workgroup on medical errors, which was responsible for identifying patient safety issues for OIG studies. For many years Alan represented OIG on the Public Health Service Interagency Council on Quality Assurance, and on the Executive Committee of the National Practitioner Data Bank. Alan has authored a number of OIG reports on the National Practitioner Data Bank involving such issues as medical malpractice reporting and hospital peer review.
Alan’s own personal journey into the world of medical errors started when his mother died from an overdose of asthma medication at a Jacksonville, Florida hospital in December 1998. Since his mother was on Medicare, he asked the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for Florida to do peer review of the care she received. When they refused to give him the results, Alan was able to enlist the Public Citizen Litigation Group in a successful lawsuit.
Alan represents CAPS on the Consumer Council of the National Quality Forum. He also does patient safety related volunteer work for Consumers Union Safe Patient Project and Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, where he focuses on issues involving the National Practitioner Data Bank and State Medical Boards.