Apr 12 2011

HHS Announces a New Partnership to Improve Quality

The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced today a new partnership between HHS, the private sector, patient safety advocates, hospitals and physicians to improve patient care and reduce medical errors. Secretary Sebelius announced that the new initiative, titled the Partnership for Patients (Partnership), has the potential to save up to $35 billion in health care costs, including $10 billion for Medicare.

At the foundation of the Partnership, HHS will invest $1 billion in federal funding from the Affordable Care Act in order to meet two goals by the end of 2013:

  1. Keep patients from getting injured or sicker – Reduce preventable injuries by 40%, resulting in approximately 1.8 million fewer injuries to patients and more than 60,000 lives saved; and

  2. Help patients heal without complication – Reduce preventable hospital readmissions by 20%, resulting in 1.6 million patients recovering from illness without suffering a preventable condition requiring re-hospitalization within 30 days of discharge.

The Community-based Care Transitions program will receive $500 million of the funding. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center will provide up to $500 million more in funding to support new demonstrations related to reducing hospital-acquired conditions (HACs).

More than 500 hospitals, as well as physicians, nurses groups, consumer groups and employers have pledged commitment to the Partnership, including the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, American College of Physicians, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, Mayo Clinic, National Patient Safety Foundation, American Academy of Pediatrics and The Joint Commission.

The Partnership will begin by asking hospitals to focus on nine types of medical errors and complications, including preventing adverse drug reactions, pressure ulcers, childbirth complications and surgical site infections. The CMS Innovation Center will also help hospitals develop and adapt evidence-based care improvement programs. Community-based organizations and acute care hospitals that partner with community-based organizations can begin submitting applications for this funding. The Community-based Care Transitions program and the CMS Innovation Center will award funding on an ongoing basis as funding permits.

More information about the Partnership may be found by following this link. The press release regarding the Partnership may be found by following this link. A fact sheet on today’s HHS announcement may be found at the following link. For information about the Community-based Care transitions program funding, please follow this link.