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Emily's story

Thank you for the opportunity to share my daughter, Emily's, tragic story. This does not get any easier, in fact even though over five years have gone by since her death, my life still seems so surreal. There is no pain greater than losing a child. My beautiful Emily's death was senseless and preventable. However, by establishing Emily's Foundation, I genuinely hope to prevent any other family from having to endure the pain that I live with every day. Read Emily's full story here.


Why We're Passionate About Finding Solutions

This video showcases exactly who we are and why we do what we do. The Emily Jerry Foundation is committed to saving lives by reducing preventable medical errors. We work with many partners to make this vision a reality. President, Christopher Jerry, can come to your facility or patient safety event to make an impact on your team of caregivers.


Contact Chris to book an event today!


2014 NATIONAL PHARMACY TECHNICIAN REGULATION SCORECARDS

Announcing The Emily Jerry Foundation's National Pharmacy Technician Initiative and Scorecard

As with the heartbreaking story of my beautiful little girl Emily in 2006 (see Emily's Story for details) as well as the more recent tragedy and loss of life that occurred as result of unsafe pharmacy practices in Massachusetts at the pharmacy responsible for the meningitis outbreak, the general public is not made aware of the fact that they are routinely put at risk within our nation's medical facilities until it is too late. Similarly, a majority of the public is not aware of the fact that in all of our nation's medical facilities, pharmacy technicians are being used to compound virtually all of their intravenous medications (IV medications) while they receive treatment. To make matters even worse, there are still many states that have absolutely no requirements, or proof of competency, whatsoever, for the pharmacy technicians who routinely compound patient's IV medications on a day-to-day basis. The Emily Jerry Foundation's National Pharmacy Technician Initiative and Scorecard aims to change that. With the launch of the new interactive map that is available on our home page at emilyjerryfoundation.org, we have attempted to increase the flow of information to the general public and to our lawmakers about these reversible conditions and to become a catalyst for change. We hope to highlight the states that are doing a great job of protecting their patients through strict controls and educational requirements for pharmacy techs, as well as encourage those that are lagging behind to make improvements in their own standards in order to improve care and potentially save lives. That is the goal of the Emily Jerry Foundation, and myself as a patient safety advocate. To help save lives through reducing and eliminating the human error component of medicine. We hope this initiative will continue the momentum of our progress in that area. Click here to read the full press release.

Very best regards,
Christopher S. Jerry
President & CEO
The Emily Jerry Foundation

Latest News

CMS Non-Disclosure of Medical Errors Indicates Need for Change in how Healthcare Performance is Measured, Reported in U.S.

Note from Chris: The following is a new article in its entirety that I wrote earlier this month, with my friend and colleague, Michael Wong, from the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety. The article is titled “CMS Non-Disclosure of Medical Errors Indicates Need for Change in how Healthcare Performance is Measured, Reported in U.S.” This article that Michael and I wrote together, was in response to an article that ran in USA Today titled “Feds stop public disclosure of many serious hospital errors” on August 6th regarding the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decision to completely remove important data on “hospital acquired conditions” (HACs) from their Hospital Compare website. The following are my true sentiments on this very important issue that I had posted on Facebook on August 15th.

“I read this article in USA Today last week and it made me absolutely nauseous! In my opinion our government and in particular, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), are very quickly becoming a huge part of the problem, instead of the solution, to preventable medical errors that are senselessly claiming over 440,000 lives every year in the United States. Why would any government regulatory agency involved in patient safety want to stop disclosing ANY preventable medical errors to the public? Could it be that the government feels that “We the people”, can’t handle the real truth? By continually minimizing and “sugar coating” the real statistics and error reporting data that’s gathered, these organizations are actually perpetuating a “culture of denial” instead of positively changing the culture of medicine!

I lost my beautiful two year old daughter Emily to a very tragic and preventable medication error in 2006. Subsequently, I established The Emily Jerry Foundation (www.emilyjerryfoundation.org) to be an active part of the real solution to preventable medical errors. Please help us to honor the millions of people, like Emily, that have been lost to preventable medical errors by joining us and supporting our vital “life saving” cause. By doing this, you can help be the voice of all those who can no longer speak for themselves!”

If the federal government decided that the nation’s automakers were no longer required to publicly announce recalls of cars equipped with life-threatening defects, the protest from the masses would be deafening.

Yet, a similar scenario is playing out now in the nation’s healthcare industry with relatively little public outcry. As recently reported in USA Today, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has quietly stopped publicly reporting when hospitals make certain errors that threaten the lives of patients.

This CMS decision is not only misguided, but it also points to an even more critical issue that exists in our healthcare system today: the need to address the mind-boggling variability in the quality and measures of healthcare provided across the nation.

Currently, CMS, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Joint Commission, the Leapfrog Group and the National Committee for Quality Assurance, as well as most states and for-profit companies, such as Healthgrades and U.S. News and World Report, all offer various – and frequently conflicting — performance measures, ratings, rankings and report cards.

Meanwhile, hospitals are creating their own standards and posting their performance on their websites, often with little or no validation of their methodology or data.

This quagmire of information is illustrated in the “2013 National Pharmacy Technician Regulation Scorecard” released by the Emily Jerry Foundation following the heartbreaking death of two-year-old Emily Jerry. It shows variation in training provided to pharmacy technicians.

What all this means is that for patients and their loved ones today, choosing a physician or hospital based on publicly available information has become a daunting and confusing process. Ironically, even though a vast wealth of information is available to them, patients can’t make what could truly be described as informed decision about their care.

How can this problem be solved? For certain, the CMS decision to stop publicly reporting information on life-threatening “hospital acquired conditions” (HACs) is not the answer. When hospitals make mistakes – like leaving foreign objects in patients’ bodies during operations or neglecting to continually monitor patients receiving potentially lethal opioid medication after surgery – the public deserves to be informed about those medical errors just as they are now informed about recalls of defective automobiles. Such information should not – and must not – be swept under the rug.

With that thought in mind, it is imperative that all information and error data be truthfully and honestly disclosed to everyone involved, including the patients receiving medical care. If organizations like CMS, continue to limit and censor the data that is being shared with the public, then we as a society are perpetuating a “culture of denial” and mistrust in medicine, instead of positively affecting the underlying “culture of medicine” and how it is practiced. When this occurs, the public’s trust in modern day healthcare, unfortunately, gets seriously diminished. As a result, the public then loses sight of all the advancements that have been made in recent years, by everyone working together, on all levels, to find comprehensive solutions to preventable medical errors that tragically claim so many lives.

By recent, very credible estimates, preventable medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States, aside from cancer and heart disease. Unfortunately, preventable medical errors are now tragically claiming more than 440,000 lives in America every year (The Journal of Patient Safety “A New Evidence-based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care”, September 2013 – Volume 9 – Issue 3 – p 122–128). By sighting these astounding numbers of preventable deaths that are occurring, the core objective is to stress the importance of transparently acknowledging the real problem at hand, as well as, the corresponding error data, as shocking as it may be. Subsequently, safeguards and solutions, that effectively save countless lives, can then be implemented as quickly as possible.

These solutions should begin with creating policies that improve – and ultimately create universal standards – for measuring performance quality in our healthcare system.

To create such standards, “Achieving the Potential of Health Care Performance Measures,” a recent report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), offers seven recommendations on how to develop better measures; when and how to use measures; and how to ensure the validity and comparability of publicly-reported performance measure data. Described in greater detail in the RWJF report, the recommendations are to:

1. Decisively move from measuring processes to outcomes;
2. Use quality measures strategically, adopting other quality improvement approaches where measures fall short;
3. Measure quality at the level of the organization, rather than the clinician;
4. Measure patient experience with care and patient-reported outcomes as ends in themselves;
5. Use measurement to promote the concept of the rapid-learning health care system;
6. Invest in the “basic science” of measurement development and applications, including an emphasis on anticipating and preventing unintended adverse consequences; and
7. Task a single entity with defining standards for measuring and reporting quality and cost data, similar to the role the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) serves for the reporting of corporate financial data, to improve the validity, comparability, and transparency of publicly-reported health care quality data.

Of these recommendations, the last is a game-changer. Creating an entity to serve as the healthcare industry’s equivalent of the SEC would provide patients – who are now forced to swim against seemingly endless waves of competing and often contradictory information – a single source of quality data that has a national consensus behind it.

Should there be an SEC for healthcare? Although this concept will no doubt stir debate, no one can argue that our current systems for measuring performance quality are flawless.

What’s also undeniable is that beyond creating national policies that improve performance reporting – including consistent and accurate information about life-threatening medical mistakes– our nation’s healthcare system needs to take greater steps to prevent those mistakes from happening in the first place.

Fortunately, significant progress on that front is already underway — with myriad action plans and initiatives developed by patient safety experts and advocates groups across the nation, such as these recommendations and this checklist from the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety.

With national protocols in place to prevent medical errors from occurring – and accurately measuring and reporting them when they do — the lives and safety of literally thousands of patients could be protected each year.

Most sincerely,
Christopher Jerry
President & CEO, The Emily Jerry Foundation

Michael Wong, JD
Founder & Executive Director, Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety

* You can view this article where it was originally published on the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety website by clicking here.

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Announcing a New Partnership Between The Emily Jerry Foundation and KLAS Research


I first became aware of KLAS when I gave a keynote at the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS)
Annual Conference in Orlando, this past February. KLAS Research, based in Orem, Utah, has an extremely important mission statement; “Our mission is to improve healthcare technology delivery by honestly, accurately, and impartially measuring vendor performance for our provider partners”.

KLAS is an independent research firm based in Orem, Utah; established in 1996. KLAS is similar to Consumer Reports, only for Healthcare IT. They conduct over 30,000 interviews per year with healthcare providers to gain qualitative and quantitative data on over 1,000 healthcare IT products within 100+ healthcare IT market segments. They maintain an active database of rankings, performance scores, alerts and blogs to provide vendor transparency to providers on existing technologies.

Similarly, a very key part of The Emily Jerry Foundation’s mission statement is “identifying technology and best practices that are proven to minimize the human error component of medicine.” This is where I saw that both of our organization’s core goals and objectives are in perfect alignment, in striving to always be an active part of the solution to improving healthcare.

I was contacted by the KLAS team, a few months ago, as they were in the process of beginning research on a comprehensive study covering intravenous (IV) compounding technologies that are currently available from various manufacturers. It is absolutely imperative that this vital “life saving” technology be evaluated objectively in an unbiased manner. This is precisely what KLAS does and exactly why The Emily Jerry Foundation is looking forward to establishing a very long, mutually beneficial, relationship between our organizations!

Learn more at klasresearch.com

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Announcing The Emily Jerry Foundation’s “Patient Safety Express” Educational Program

On the Road to Saving 440,000 Lives a Year!

Click on the image above to view a larger version.

On March 1st of 2006, Emily’s mother and I had to make the most difficult decision of our lives, which was to take our precious 2-year old girl, Emily, off of life support after a preventable medical error.   In horrible, unimaginable situations like this, we all respond differently. However, as any father would be, I was completely and totally devastated emotionally. Even with that thought in mind, I still never questioned the existence of God. From that horrific day forward, I knew in my heart that He had to have a plan, I just had absolutely no idea, nor was I ever meant to even comprehend at that point, what exactly God’s plan was for my beautiful little girl’s short life here on earth.   

As I frequently mention in many of my speaking engagements and lectures, as Emily’s father looking back over the past eight years, I have really come to believe that Emily’s short life was truly meant to save thousands from the same fate.  In retrospect, I am also convinced that Emily’s life was actually meant to be the catalyst for all the positive change in attitudes and opinions on preventable medical errors and how the medical community responds and learns from them. This is precisely why I have always strived with my advocacy efforts, as well as, the programming of The Emily Jerry Foundation to be an active part of the overall “solution” to preventable medical errors, which by recent estimates are claiming more than 440,000 lives every year and are now sadly the third leading cause of death in the United States.

I am extremely pleased to say that the special Guardian Angel logo for the foundation, designed with Emily’s likeness, is very quickly becoming the “Gerber Baby” of patient safety. Most everyone in medicine and pharmacy recognizes it. More importantly to me, they really seem to comprehend the fact that it stands for all of this positive change that is, in fact, occurring in the underlying “culture of medicine” and how it’s being practiced, both here in the United States and abroad.  In these ways, Emily lives on, and is truly responsible for saving many lives. My goal is to keep the momentum going forward and continue to inspire those in the medical field to never settle for “good enough” when it comes to patient safety.

When I first established The Emily Jerry Foundation, under these distinct premises, my primary motivation was to begin getting out and speaking to as many caregivers around the nation as possible. I wanted to share with them Emily’s story and the extremely important lessons that have been learned since her passing. My feeling was that the caregivers, hospital administrators, boards of trustees for medical facilities, etc., were the ones who could really impact the changes I was praying for, more quickly than anyone else. 

Over the past three years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to speak before tens of thousands of people, all who play an integral part in patient safety in our healthcare system. I have already given more than 75 lectures, keynotes speeches, and presentations on patient safety and ways to reduce preventable medical errors at hospitals and medical conferences around the nation. It is extremely important to keep this wave of enthusiasm for our very important cause moving forward. This is precisely why I believe so strongly that The Emily Jerry Foundation needs to continue to reach and convey our vital messages to as many caregivers and healthcare administrators across the nation, as quickly and effectively, as possible.  

According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), we currently have 5, 723 registered hospitals in the United States today. I know it’s a completely unrealistic goal to expect to be able to book the speaking engagements and patient safety symposiums, which have proven very effective over the past few years, at each and every single medical facility in our nation. This is exactly why we have developed The Emily Jerry Foundation’s new “Patient Safety Express” Educational Program, to effectively and efficiently reach, as many of these hospitals, as possible.

My plan is simple. If we can raise enough funds and donations to either purchase or lease a coach tour bus, similar to the one pictured above this article, I am going to make a personal commitment to our cause to live on the road for 12 to 18 months at a time, going to as many hospitals and patient safety functions around the country as humanly possible. Typically, I am only able to conduct roughly two to four speaking engagements and patient safety events per month via commercial airlines. With the “Patient Safety Express”, I will be able to more efficiently cover the entire United States visiting three to five hospitals per week. My very realistic goal then, subsequently, becomes approximately 156 to 260 hospitals and functions per year!

Please join me in this fight by donating toward this very important educational program and our vital “life saving” cause at emilyjerryfoundation.org/donate. If you would like to discuss corporate sponsorship for this program, please contact me directly at chris@emilyjerryfoundation.org.

Thank You in Advance for your Support!
~Chris Jerry, Patient Safety Advocate

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  • Nate & Katherine

    A Letter to My Children

    Dear Nate & Katherine,

    I truly love and miss, both of you, more than you will ever know! I am so incredibly sorry that you both have had to endure the loss of your baby sister, the death of your uncle, and the breakup of your family in such a short period of time. You both were the absolute best big brother and sister ever and I know how much you both must still hurt and miss her! I genuinely hope and pray that you find some comfort and that you both always know in your heart that little Emily is still watching over all of us!

    Click Here to Read the Full Letter...

  • Our mission

    The Emily Jerry Foundation is determined to help make our nation’s, world renowned, medical facilities safer for everyone, beginning with our babies and children. We are accomplishing this very important objective by focusing on increasing public awareness of key patient safety related issues and identifying technology and best practices that are proven to minimize the “human error” component of medicine. Through our ongoing efforts The Emily Jerry Foundation is working hard to save lives every day.


    Thank You So Very Much for Your Support! ~Chris Jerry

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    Contact us

    We'd love to hear your stories and comments. Together we can save lives.

    chris@emilyjerryfoundation.org


    Advocacy Heals U


    Internet Radio Show Co-hosted by Joni Aldrich and Chris Jerry of the Emily Jerry Foundation

    Through my work as an advocate, I never really knew the profound healing that would occur on a personal level, as Emily’s father. It’s this type of healing process that can occur, for anyone who has experienced or is going through a life-changing crisis, that cohost Joni Aldrich (www.jonialdrich.com) and I, discuss on our weekly show called ADVOCACY HEALS U. Please join us every Tuesday at 2:00pm EST and find out how to be an advocate for positive change and how it can, subsequently, heal and inspire you too! Over any web enabled device, you can listen to the show by either going to www.W4CS.com or www.W4WN.com. If you happen to miss a show it will be rebroadcast each Saturday at 3:00pm EST. All our shows are archived on iHeartRadio.com. Click on the button below to scroll through the archives.

  • Form Letters

    Medication Safety Form Letters

    A few months ago, we introduced The Emily Jerry Foundation’s National Pharmacy Technician Initiative and Scorecard. Our new interactive scorecard’s primary objective is meant to be a useful tool for everyone in the public to use to protect themselves, their families, and their loved ones, from tragic and often deadly medication errors, like the one that took my beautiful daughter, Emily’s, life in 2006. As with Emily, these types of tragedies often occur in states that have little to NO oversight or continuing education requirements for their pharmacy technicians. If you live in one of these states that has absolutely no requirements for their pharmacy technicians, has received a poor grade on our scorecard, or if you are simply not comfortable with the potential core competency or training requirements of the pharmacy technicians in your state, I would urge you to complete and print out the following two letters and get them signed. These letters could ultimately save your life, or the lives of the ones you love.

    One of the letters was written for those of you who will be receiving treatment at a hospital or medical facility that will be dispensing and compounding medications for you in their clinical pharmacy. The other letter is for those of you that will be receiving your medications from a retail pharmacy close to home. Many of you will need to utilize both letters, due to the fact you will be receiving various medications from both types of pharmacies (clinical and retail) during the course of your treatment.

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