Washington State Hospital Association and Premera Blue Cross to Advance National Patient Safety Initiative

Hospital Association Patient Safety Committee Reaffirms Goals

SEATTLE and MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Wash., April 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) and Premera Blue Cross are endorsing today's announcement by President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the National Patient Safety Initiative.  The initiative is called "Partnership for Patients: Better Care, Lower Costs." The two organizations have reaffirmed their ongoing commitment to pursue excellence in providing safe, quality health care for the people of Washington State.

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Established in 2005 with hospital dues and a grant from Premera Blue Cross, and made up of member hospitals across the state of Washington, the WSHA Patient Safety Committee focuses on helping hospitals create evidence-based systems to ensure all patients get the right care at the right time, with zero errors that may impact a patient's health.

Carol Wagner, Vice President for Patient Safety of the WSHA, explained that the mission of the Patient Safety Committee is consistent with the main goals of the Partnership for Patients.  The initiative asks employers and health plans to pledge their support through increased financial support of safety programs, measurement of such programs, and ongoing sharing of information in order to provide better, safer care.  She cited two best practice initiatives that the Patient Safety Committee already has underway in the state of Washington including rapid response teams to speed intervention when a patient begins to show signs of significant decline; and a Quality Benchmarking System used by hospitals to compare safety and quality locally and across the nation.  

"In part due to the great work of the WSHA Patient Safety Committee over the last six years, the state of Washington is already seen as a national leader in patient safety and quality," said Brian Ancell, the sole health-plan member of the WSHA Patient Safety Committee and Executive Vice President for Healthcare Services and Strategic Development at Premera Blue Cross.  

"With Premera's continued support, the Patient Safety Committee has made great strides in safety and quality, with strong results in responding to patients in distress earlier and in preventing infections," Carol Wagner of WSHA noted.  "We believe this new national initiative can bring new resources, research, and understanding about how to improve care and prevent harm to patients.  This will be tremendously helpful to providers and insurers in our state."

The Partnership for Patients Initiative involves hospitals, physicians, clinicians, consumers, patient organizations, employers, unions, health plans and states.  For more information about the Partnership for Patients, go to www.healthcare.gov/center/programs/partnership.

About Washington State Hospital Association:  The Washington State Hospital Association represents all of Washington's 98 community hospitals.  The association takes a major leadership role in issues that affect delivery, quality, accessibility, affordability, and continuity of health care.  It works to serve its members, increase access to health care, and improve health care quality.  Please visit www.wsha.org for more information.

About Premera Blue Cross

Our mission is to provide peace of mind to our members about their healthcare coverage. We provide health insurance and related services to more than 1.5 million people.  Premera Blue Cross has operated in Washington since 1933, and Alaska since 1952.  Premera Blue Cross is a not-for-profit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Premera Blue Cross is a member of a family of companies based in Mountlake Terrace, Washington that provide health, life, vision, dental, stop-loss, disability, and other related products and services.  Please visit www.premera.com for more information.

SOURCE Washington State Hospital Association