17 providers receive $110M in federal funds to improve patient safety

Seventeen healthcare providers and hospital associations will receive $110 million in Affordable Care Act funds to take part in the Partnership for Patients program, which aims to improve the quality and safety of healthcare. and reduce its costs.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that the American Hospital Association, Premier, Inc., Ascension Health and Carolinas HealthCare System are among the organizations that will receive contracts in the second round of its Hospital Engagement Networks (HEN) initiative.

The Partnership for Patients program, which began in 2011, aims to cut readmissions by 20 percent and preventable hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent. Last year HEN participants avoided nearly 19,000 early-elective deliveries, more than 11,000 readmissions and nearly 9,000 infections, saving more than $1.3 billion, FierceHealthFinance previously reported.

Participants in the program must focus on several specific hospital-acquired conditions, including adverse drug events, fall injuries, pressure ulcers, readmissions and surgical-site infections, according to a CMS fact sheet.

Numerous participants in Partnership for Patients reported strong first-round results, such as the New Jersey Hospital Association, which recently claimed a 7.7 percent drop in readmissions and saved $120 million in healthcare costs, or the program's Indiana campaign, which saved $22 million and prevented nearly 4,700 patient harms. However, experts have questioned the results touted by CMS, with a 2014 opinion piece arguing the program's methodology is flawed and lacks transparency, robbing providers of a chance to learn from its outcomes.   

"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, M.D., CMS acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer, said in the announcement. "This second round of Hospital Engagement Networks will allow us to continue to improve healthcare safety across the nation."

To learn more:
- read the announcement
- check out the fact sheet