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NQF Distances Itself From Safe Practices Co-Chair

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 23, 2014

While an influential advocate for patient safety and former committee chair of the National Quality Forum denies allegations that he took kickbacks from a product manufacturer, the DOJ has named him in a settlement agreement. The NQF cut ties with him years ago and updated its conflict of interest policies.

For more than a decade, the name Charles Denham, MD, has been an icon in the patient safety movement. His reputation as a technology innovator searching for solutions to reduce healthcare harms was unscathed.

Denham is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Patient Safety. He's chairman of the Leapfrog Group Safe Practices Program, co-founder of the Global Patient Safety Forum, and a producer of documentaries such as "Chasing Zero, Winning the War on Healthcare Harm," with Dennis Quaid.


See Also: Patient Safety Orgs Cut Ties With Denham


And in 2006, Denham also became the influential co-chair of the Safe Practices Committee of the National Quality Forum, which receives tens of millions of dollars in federal funds to review and endorse quality measures it believes the healthcare industry should follow to improve quality and receive full reimbursement for patient care.

In this powerful role, however, Denham appears to have gotten himself into big trouble. He allegedly used his stature and clout to promote and recommend a surgical disinfectant in exchange for millions of dollars in kickbacks from the product's manufacturer, CareFusion Corp.

Documents released by the Department of Justice over the last few days have smashed Denham's reputation to smithereens.

A Product Recommendation
A federal settlement agreement detailed by the Department of Justice on Jan. 9, links Denham with an accusation that he took $11.6 million from CareFusion, the maker of ChloraPrep, as a kickback for using his NQF position to promulgate what NQF labeled its "Safe Practices No. 22."

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