Essential hospitals reduce patient harm, costs through national initiative

July 17, 2013

WASHINGTON - A national network of hospitals committed to caring for the vulnerable has prevented 1,184 harmful events and saved nearly $12 million through a federal initiative to reduce hospital-acquired conditions and preventable readmissions.

Members of the Essential Hospitals Engagement Network (EHEN), one of 26 such networks under the public-private Partnership for Patients (PfP), achieved these results over the past 18 months. The EHEN is an initiative of America's Essential Hospitals, formerly the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, and operates under the association's research affiliate, the Essential Hospitals Institute (formerly the National Public Health and Hospital Institute).

"Since we launched the EHEN in December 2011, the network's 22 hospitals have made impressive strides in quality and patient safety and produced tangible, sustainable results," said Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, president and CEO of America's Essential Hospitals. "We are proud of their progress and look forward to building on their successes to make health care safer and more affordable."

The EHEN, the only safety net-focused hospital engagement network, has taken a two-pronged approach to reducing harm by coaching and educating frontline clinical staff and training hospitals' executive teams to foster a culture of patient safety.

"We believe our harm reduction strategy, which aims to improve quality from the top down and from the bottom up, has helped our hospitals lay the groundwork for continued improvement in patient safety in the months and years to come," said EHEN Project Director Sarah Callahan, MHSA.

The PfP, established under the Affordable Care Act, seeks to reduce nine hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent and 30-day readmissions by 20 percent nationwide by the end of 2013. EHEN hospitals also have been working to eliminate health care disparities based on race, ethnicity, and language, and have boosted patient and family engagement in care.

"Essential hospitals are uniquely positioned to reduce disparities in care because of their experience in treating diverse patient populations with varying health needs," Callahan said. "By also focusing on health equity and patient and family engagement, the EHEN and its hospitals have underscored their commitment to keeping patients, especially the most vulnerable, at the center of quality improvement activities."

For more information on the EHEN, visit

Carl Graziano
[email protected]org