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Potential Improvements to Hospital Care

December 15, 2011

Hospitals across the country will soon have new resources and support to make health care safer and less costly by targeting and reducing the millions of preventable injuries and complications from healthcare acquired conditions, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced this week.

As a part of the Partnership for Patients initiative, a nationwide public-private collaboration to improve the quality, safety, and affordability of health care for all Americans, $218 million will go to 26 state, regional, national, or hospital system organizations. As Hospital Engagement Networks, these organizations will help identify solutions already working to reduce healthcare acquired conditions, and work to spread them to other hospitals and health care providers.

“At some point in our lives many of us are going to need hospital care and we need to be confident that no matter where we live, we’re going to get the best care in the world,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “The Partnership for Patients is helping the nation’s finest health systems share their knowledge and resources to make sure every hospital knows how to provide all of its patients with the highest quality care.”

The Hospital Engagement Networks’ will be funded with $500 million from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Center, which was established by the Affordable Care Act. Hospital Engagement Networks will work to develop learning collaboratives for hospitals and provide a wide array of initiatives and activities to improve patient safety. They will be required to conduct intensive training programs to teach and support hospitals in making patient care safer, provide technical assistance to hospitals so that hospitals can achieve quality measurement goals, and establish and implement a system to track and monitor hospital progress in meeting quality improvement goals. The activities of the Hospital Engagement Networks will be closely monitored by CMS to ensure that they are improving patient safety.

Launched in April, the Partnership for Patients now consists of more than 6,500 partners, including over 3,167 hospitals, along with 2345 physicians, nurses, patient advocates, 892 consumers and consumer groups, and 256 employers and unions. In addition, health plans, Area Agencies on Aging, and state and federal government officials who have pledged to work together to reduce the number of hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent and reduce hospital readmissions by 20 percent by the end of 2013.

“In just the past eight months we’ve seen an overwhelming response from doctors, employers, patient advocates and other partners who believe the time is now to improve patient safety—as a former ICU nurse and hospital administrator, I’m proud to see hospitals stepping up to the plate,” said Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator at CMS, the HHS agency sponsoring the program. “We look forward to working with the Hospital Engagement Networks and the hospitals on the critical and important work of making care safer, more reliable, and less costly and achieving the goals of the Partnership for Patients.”

The 26 organizations receiving awards are:

American Hospital Association
Ascension Health
Carolinas HealthCare System
Catholic Healthcare West
Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Foundation
Georgia Hospital Association Research and Education Foundation
Healthcare Association of New York State
Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania
Intermountain Healthcare
Iowa Healthcare Collaborative
Joint Commission Resources
Lifepoint Hospitals
Michigan Health & Hospital Association
Minnesota Hospital Association
National Public Health and Hospital Institute
New Jersey Hospital Association
Nevada Hospital Association
North Carolina Hospital Association
Ohio Children’s Hospital Solutions for Patient Safety
Ohio Hospital Association
Premier
Tennessee Hospital Association
Texas Center for Quality & Patient Safety
UHC
VHA
Washington State Hospital Association

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