Secretary Sebelius Releases Inaugural Health Care 'Success Story' Report

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today released the first in a series of health care "success story" reports that document innovative programs and initiatives that can serve as models for a reformed American health care system. The inaugural report highlights the Michigan Keystone ICU Project. A joint partnership between the Michigan Health & Hospital Association and the Johns Hopkins University, the Michigan Keystone ICU Project helped dramatically reduce the number of health care associated infections in Michigan, saving over 1,500 lives and $200 million.

"We know there are tremendous examples of efficient, high-quality health care in America today. Our challenge is spreading these good examples across the country," said Sebelius. "Our reports will showcase success stories like the Michigan Keystone ICU Project and highlight how health reform can improve the quality of care for all Americans."

Medical errors including health care associated infections claim the lives of nearly 100,000 patients in America every year and patient safety measures have worsened by nearly 1 percent each year for the past decade. The Michigan Keystone ICU Project worked to make patient care safer in over 100 ICUs in the state of Michigan. The project targeted a specific type of infection that ICU patients can get while in the hospital: catheter-related bloodstream infections. To help reduce these infections, the project worked to ensure clinicians used a simple checklist when inserting catheters into ICU patients.

Following the checklist was associated with a 66 percent reduction in these infections throughout the state of Michigan, saving over 1,500 lives and $200 million in the first 18 months alone. This project was funded by a grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and for every dollar invested, approximately $200 was saved.

"Americans don't expect to get additional infections when they go into the hospital," said Sebelius. "Stopping health care associated infections and improving the quality of care is one of our top priorities."

The Obama Administration has already begun work to reduce health care associated infections. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) included $50 million in grants available for states to help fight health care associated infections across the country. Secretary Sebelius has also called on hospitals across America to commit to reduce Central Line Associated Blood Stream Infections in Intensive Care Units by 75 percent over the next three years by using the same checklist that has shown such success in Michigan.

The President is also working to enact health reform that will emphasize quality care over quantity and makes health care more affordable for American families, businesses and the government.

"When we enact health reform, we can improve quality, help control costs and ensure success stories like the Michigan Keystone ICU Project become the rule, not the exception," added Sebelius.


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