Feds award $347M to boost nationwide hospital patient safety efforts

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will provide nearly $350 million in funds to 16 healthcare organizations to build on encouraging results from its patient harm reduction efforts.

CMS, in partnership with national and local hospital associations, quality improvement organizations and other health organizations, saved 87,000 lives and nearly $20 billion between 2010 and 2014, Patrick Conway, M.D., CMS’ chief medical officer, told news reporters during a conference call Thursday.

 “I have never seen this level of results and we are focused on accelerating improvement efforts” down the road, Conway said.

Going forward, he said, CMS has awarded $347 million to 16 more institutions under the Hospital Improvement and Innovation Network program, which will operate under the Partnership for Patients umbrella.

The participating organizations that will receive the funds include:

  • Carolinas Healthcare System
  • Dignity Health
  • Healthcare Association of New York State
  • HealthInsight
  • The Health Research and Educational Trust of the American Hospital Association
  • Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey
  • Health Services Advisory Group
  • The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania
  • Iowa Healthcare Collaborative
  • Michigan Health & Hospital Association Health Foundation
  • Minnesota Hospital Association
  • Ohio Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety
  • Ohio Hospital Association
  • Premier, Inc.
  • Vizient, Inc.
  • Washington State Hospital Association

The funding will help support CMS' newest goal: to reduce patient harm across the board by another 20 percent from the 2014 baseline by 2019, and also reduce readmissions by 12 percent.

    Participants in the conference call also emphasized the role that input from patients and families played in the progress so far, and that future patient safety efforts must continue to give them a seat at the table. This means providers must resist the perception of patients and families as less involved participants, according to Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families.

    This active collaboration represents “a significant change in our culture of healthcare and something we need to continue and promote as we go forward,” she said, and healthcare leaders must “continue to work together with hospitals and clinicians and the folks at CMS to ensure that this kind of collaboration continues.”

    The work the initiative has done is also vital to inter-hospital cooperation, said American Hospital Association President and CEO Richard Pollack, with most of the nation’s hospitals taking part in joint harm reduction efforts. “It helps hospitals share what works, it spreads best practices… that’s what this is all about,” Pollack said.