Secretary Sudders Announces Creation of Sepsis Consortium

Last Thursday, in recognition of World Sepsis Day, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders marked World Sepsis Day by announcing the creation of the Massachusetts Sepsis Consortium, a public-private partnership of more than 25 organizations, including MHA, to collectively address the public health threat sepsis presents.

Sepsis takes a life every two minutes in the U.S. and affects more than 40,000 Massachusetts residents each year – yet, its threat is not commonly known to the public. Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming response to serious infection, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death. It is the leading cause of death in hospitals and the costliest condition to treat in the United States.

“The goal of the Massachusetts Sepsis Consortium is to save lives by increasing awareness of the signs and symptoms of sepsis,” said Secretary Sudders. “This includes the need for people to seek immediate care and for providers to promptly diagnose and treat sepsis before it’s too late … The Consortium’s multi-sector collaborative approach will serve as a model for addressing health challenges that require a shared commitment from public and private actors.”

Two members of the Massachusetts Sepsis Consortium spoke regarding the profound effect of sepsis on patients and families.  Doreen Bettencourt, BSN, a nurse who is a sepsis survivor, serves as a patient advocate and a staff resource in hospitals.  Tina Edwards, LICSW,a social worker, has joined the National Family Council on Sepsis, along with her sisters to raise public awareness about the importance of recognizing and treating sepsis early in honor of their mother.

 “Massachusetts hospitals are on the front lines of dealing with sepsis, and are committed to improving early diagnosis and treatment of this life-threatening condition, particularly when patients come in to an Emergency Department,” said MHA’s Vice President of Clinical Affairs Pat Noga, RN, PhD, FAAN. “MHA looks forward to working with its member hospitals, fellow sepsis consortium partners and patients and families to increase public awareness and address this vital public health concern.”

The Massachusetts Sepsis Consortium will: identify and disseminate strategies to advance the prompt diagnosis and treatment of sepsis in all healthcare settings; increase awareness about sepsis prevention, symptoms, and when to seek medical care; and recommend an approach for tracking trends in sepsis morbidity and mortality statewide. The Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety will coordinate the effort.

Consortium members include experts from multiple state agencies, healthcare associations, patients, insurers, and advocates, as well as Senators Jason Lewis (D-Winchester) and Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), and Representative Kate Hogan (D-Stow). The Consortium has formed two task forces: one to support implementation of sepsis screening and treatment protocols in emergency rooms, and a second to plan a robust sepsis awareness campaign.

Visit here for more information and to see a complete list of Massachusetts Sepsis Consortium members.  And visit here for a summary of last Thursday's event and some powerful video clips from it.