CMS awards $110M for patient safety

17 healthcare organizations in this round of funding
By Bernie Monegain
08:46 AM
Patient on gurney

Chalk one up for patient safety. Make that $110 million.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has awarded that amount in Affordable Care Act funding to 17 national, regional, or state hospital associations and health system organizations to continue efforts in reducing preventable hospital-acquired conditions and readmissions.

Through the Partnership for Patients initiative – a nationwide public-private collaboration that began in 2011 to reduce preventable hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent and 30-day readmissions by 20 percent – the second round of the Hospital Engagement Networks will continue to work to improve patient care in the hospital setting.

"We have made significant progress in keeping patients safe and we are focused on accelerating improvement efforts through collaboration and reliable implementation of best practices," Patrick Conway, MD, CMS acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer, said in a press statement. "This second round of Hospital Engagement Networks will allow us to continue to improve healthcare safety across the nation."

Since the launch of the Partnership for Patients, the vast majority of U.S. hospitals and many other stakeholders have joined the collaborative effort and delivered results, CMS notes.

The Department of Health and Human Services has estimated that 50,000 fewer patients died in hospitals and approximately $12 billion in healthcare costs were saved as a result of a reduction in hospital-acquired conditions from 2010 to 2013.

Nationally, patient safety is improving, resulting in 1.3 million adverse events and infections avoided in hospitals in that time period. This translates to a 17 percent decline in hospital-acquired conditions over the three-year period.

The Partnership for Patients and the Hospital Engagement Networks are one part of an overall framework established by the Affordable Care Act to deliver better care, spend dollars more wisely, and improve care. Initiatives like the Partnership for Patients, Accountable Care Organizations, Quality Improvement Organizations, and others have helped reduce hospital readmissions in Medicare by nearly 8 percent between January 2012 and December 2013 – translating into 150,000 fewer readmissions.

Round two of the Hospital Engagement Networks will continue to 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, implement, and improve the system to track and monitor hospital progress in meeting the Partnership for Patients' quality improvement goals..
The 17 organizations receiving contracts in this second round are:

  • American Hospital Association
  • Ascension Health
  • Carolinas HealthCare System
  • Dignity Health
  • Healthcare Association of New York State
  • Health Research Education Trust of New Jersey
  • Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania
  • Iowa Healthcare Collaborative
  • LifePoint Health
  • Michigan Health & Hospital Association Health Foundation
  • Minnesota Hospital Association
  • Ohio Children's Hospital Solutions for Patient Safety
  • Ohio Hospital Association
  • Premier, Inc.
  • Tennessee Hospital Association
  • VHA-UHC Alliance NewCo Inc.
  • Washington State Hospital Association

Premier executives say they have received approximately 500 letters of intent from hospitals to participate in its Hospital Engagement Network for the second round of the program.

Wes Champion, senior vice president of Premier Performance Partners, said in a news release that Premier would work to build on its accomplishments and achieve the goals of reducing preventable HACs and readmissions over the next year.

"These hospitals are committed to co-creating solutions that transform healthcare by transparently sharing data, outcomes and resources."

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