Illinois hospitals save $132M by preventing readmissions, infections

Hospitals and hospital systems in Illinois banded together to form an engagement network and saved more than $132 million by improving the quality of care, according to an announcement from the Illinois Hospital Association (IHA).

The Illinois Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) prevented more than 11,000 readmissions, 273 early (under 39 weeks) deliveries, 264 central line-associated bloodstream infections, 201 cathether-associated urinary tract infections, 152 ventilator-associated pneumonias, 147 surgical site infections and 123 pressure ulcers. Officials also said that more patients are discharged directly to their homes from the hospital. 

Since its launch in January 2012 through last June, the initiative prevented 12,729 instances of harm to patients, for an associated cost savings of $132.4 million. Last year, the hospitals reported they avoided 843 instances of patient harm, with an associated savings of $18 million.

"Illinois hospitals and healthcare systems are making substantial progress improving the care that patients receive and ensuring that patients are receiving the highest quality care," said Maryjane Wurth, chief executive officer of the IHA. "They are to be commended for accelerating quality improvement and patient safety and transforming healthcare delivery in Illinois." 

The HEN is part of the federal Partnership for Patients initiative, which aims to reduce incidents that harm patients by 40 percent and readmissions by 20 percent. Although the HEN has not yet reached that goal, it appears to be posting stronger numbers than the state-sponsored Raising The Bar initiative, which began in 2010 and includes about 200 Illinois hospitals. 

Nationwide, HEN initiatives have saved about $1.3 billion.  Raising The Bar calls for reducing the 30-day readmission rates for congestive heart failure, heart attacks and pneumonia, along with reducing hospital-acquired infection rates.

Hospitals in Illinois have been required to report various quality data since 2010, after years of delays in implementing a 2005 law mandating their publication.

To learn more:
- read the Illinois Hospital Association announcement (.pdf)