Hospitals across the country will 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 last 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.
вЂњAt 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, weвЂ™re going to get the best care in the world,вЂќ said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. вЂњThe Partnership for Patients is helping the nationвЂ™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.вЂќ
The Hospital Engagement NetworksвЂ™ 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 2011, 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.
вЂњIn just the past eight months weвЂ™ve seen an overwhelming response from doctors, employers, patient advocates and other partners who believe the time is now to improve patient safetyвЂ”as a former ICU nurse and hospital administrator, IвЂ™m proud to see hospitals stepping up to the plate,вЂќ said Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of CMS, the HHS agency sponsoring the program.В вЂњWe 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.вЂќ
Achieving the Partnership for PatientsвЂ™ objectives would mean approximately 1.8 million fewer injuries to patients in the hospital, saving over 60,000 lives over three years, and would mean more than 1.6 million patients to recover from illness without suffering a preventable complication requiring re-hospitalization.
The 26 organizations receiving awards are:
American Hospital Association;
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;
Iowa Healthcare Collaborative;
Joint Commission Resources, Inc.;
Lifepoint Hospitals, Inc.;
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 ChildrenвЂ™s Hospital Solutions for Patient Safety;
Ohio Hospital Association;
Tennessee Hospital Association;
Texas Center for Quality & Patient Safety;
Washington State Hospital Association.
HHS has committed up to $1 billion in Affordable Care Act funding to help achieve the Partnership for Patients. In addition to the funding to help reduce health care acquired conditions, $500 million has been made available through the Community-Based Care Transitions Program to ensure patients safely transition between settings of care to bring down readmissions. Recently, seven organizations were selected as the first participants for the Community-Based Care Transitions Program.
In addition to the Hospital Engagement Contract awards, HHS has awarded three other contracts to assist in achieving the Partnership for PatientsвЂ™ goals: the National Content Developer Contractor, the Beneficiary and Medical Professional Engagement Contractor, and the Evaluation Contractor.
For more information on the Partnership for Patients, please visit https://www.healthcare.gov/partnershipforpatients.