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CMS Awards $110M for Improvement in Patient Safety, Readmissions

September 25, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded $110 million to 17 hospital associations and health system organizations as part of the Partnership for Patients, a program with the aim to decrease hospital-acquired conditions and reduce avoidable readmissions.

The funds serve as the second round of Hospital Engagement Networks, a part of the Partnership for Patients initiative that work at the national, regional, state, or hospital system level. The period of performance for this second round of Hospital Engagement Networks (HEN) is one year and begins in September 2015.

Launched in April 2011, the Partnership for Patients strives to engage short-stay acute care hospitals across the nation in improving the quality of care delivered to patients, part of a bigger framework established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has estimated that 50,000 fewer patients died in hospitals and approximately $12 billion in healthcare costs were saved as a result of a reduction in hospital-acquired conditions from 2010 to 2013. Nationally, patient safety is improving, resulting in 1.3 million adverse events and infections avoided in hospitals in that time period. This translates to a 17 percent decline in hospital-acquired conditions over the three-year period. In addition, 30-day hospital readmissions in Medicare decreased by nearly 8 percent between January 2012 and December 2013—translating into 150,000 fewer readmissions, according to CMS data.

The focus of the Partnership for Patients’ work going forward will be in two key dimensions: sustaining national progress and momentum, while conducting the necessary evaluation work to more fully assess its contribution to the national improvements in patient safety. The two specific goals of the Partnership for Patients are:

  • Keep patients from getting injured or sicker. Decrease preventable hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent compared to 2010. 
  • Help patients heal without complication. Decrease preventable complications during a transition from one care setting to another so that 30-day hospital readmissions are reduced by 20 percent compared to 2010.

One organization that is part of this federal contract is the Charlotte, N.C.-based Premier Inc. which, in the first three years of the program, has worked with approximately 450 hospitals participating in its HEN to reduce medical complications by 32 percent and all-cause, 30-day readmission rates by 6 percent. Specifically, Premier HEN hospitals avoided 58,102 readmissions and 19,760 adverse events, and saved nearly $750 million.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to continue working with a large group of hospitals to spread evidence-based healthcare improvements across the nation,” Wes Champion, senior vice president of Premier Performance Partners, said in a statement. “Premier’s HEN will work to build on its accomplishments and achieve the goals of reducing preventable HACs and readmissions over the next year. These hospitals are committed to co-creating solutions that transform healthcare by transparently sharing data, outcomes and resources. We look forward to seeing the innovations they generate in the next round of this collaboration.”

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