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Health Law and Regulation

STORY OF THE WEEK


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HHS Targets 9 Preventable Medical Errors and Complications

HHS is asking hospitals to focus on nine types of medical errors in the hopes of dramatically reducing patient harm rates and healthcare costs in its new Partnership for Patients program.

The nine medical errors are:

  • Preventing adverse drug reactions
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Surgical site infections
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI)
  • Central line associated blood stream infections (CLABSI)
  • Injuries from falls and immobility
  • Obstetrical adverse events
  • Venous thromboembolism (VTE)
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP)
In particular, HHS hopes to reduce preventable hospital-acquired conditions and prevent complications during transitions in care.

The CMS Innovation Center will help hospitals adapt effective, evidence-based care improvements to target preventable patient injuries on a local level, developing innovative approaches to spreading and sharing strategies among public and private partners in all states. Members of the partnership will identify specific steps they will take to reduce preventable injuries and complications in patient care.

The HHS hopes its Partnership for Patients program will help save 60,000 lives by stopping millions of preventable injuries and complications in patient care over the next three years, and that could also save up to $35 billion in healthcare costs, including up to $10 billion for Medicare. This initiative could reduce costs to Medicare by about $50 billion and result in billions more in Medicaid savings over the next 10 years. Already, more than 500 hospitals, as well as physicians and nurses groups, consumer groups and employers have pledged their commitment to the new initiative.

To launch this initiative, HHS will invest up to $1 billion in federal funding, made available under the Affordable Care Act. Five hundred million dollars of that funding was made available through the Community-based Care Transitions Program. Up to $500 million more will be dedicated from the CMS Innovation Center to support new demonstrations related to reducing hospital-acquired conditions. The funding will be invested in reforms that help achieve two shared goals:

  • Keep hospital patients from getting injured or sicker. By the end of 2013, preventable hospital-acquired conditions would decrease by 40 percent compared to 2010. Achieving this goal would mean approximately 1.8 million fewer injuries to patients, with more than 60,000 lives saved over the next three years.
  • Help patients heal without complication. By the end of 2013, preventable complications during a transition from one care setting to another would be decreased so that all hospital readmissions would be reduced by 20 percent compared to 2010. Achieving this goal would mean more than 1.6 million patients will recover from illness without suffering a preventable complication requiring re-hospitalization within 30-days of discharge.

HHS has committed $500 million to community-based organizations partnering with eligible hospitals to help patients safely transition between settings of care. Also, in coordination with stakeholders from across the healthcare system, the CMS Innovation Center is planning to use up to $500 million in additional funding to test different models of improving patient care and patient engagement and collaboration in order to reduce hospital-acquired conditions and improve care transitions nationwide. These collaborative models will help hospitals adopt effective interventions for improving patient safety in their facilities.

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Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, April 12, 2011


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This resource provides actionable information from 87 healthcare organizations on their strategies to smooth patientsí transitions from one care site to another and reduce rehospitalizations. Based on responses to HINís May 2010 Industry Survey on Care Transitions Management, this 60-page report documents the latest trends and metrics on care transitions programs in use by primary care providers, health plans, hospitals and others.

2010 Performance Benchmarks in Managing Care Transitions is available from the Healthcare Intelligence Network for $127 by visiting our Online Bookstore or by calling toll-free (888) 446-3530.



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IMPORTANT NOTICE: This information is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information on the business of healthcare. It is distributed with the understanding that Healthcare Intelligence Network is not engaged in rendering legal advice. If legal advice is required, the services of a competent professional should be retained.



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