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CMS Awards $347M for Hospital Improvement Innovation Networks

September 29, 2016
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded $347 million to 16 healthcare organizations—of varying forms—to serve as Hospital Improvement Innovation Networks (HIINs) and continue efforts in reducing hospital-acquired conditions and readmissions in the Medicare program.

These awards will specifically integrate the Partnership for Patients (PfP) Hospital Engagement Networks (HEN) into the Quality Improvement Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) program in order to maximize the strengths of the QIO program and the PfP HENs to sustain and expand current national reductions in patient harm and 30 day readmissions for the Medicare program, CMS said in a press release announcement.

According to the CMS press release, the Hospital Improvement and Innovation Network contracts that were awarded “build upon the collective momentum of the Hospital Engagement Networks and Quality Improvement Organizations to reduce patient harm and readmissions.” Patrick Conway, M.D., CMS acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer, said, “We have made significant progress in keeping patients safe—an estimated 2.1 million fewer patients harmed, 87,000 lives saved, and nearly $20 billion in cost-savings from 2010 to 2014—and we are focused on accelerating improvement efforts. The work of the Hospital Improvement and Innovation Networks will allow us to continue to improve healthcare safety across the nation and reduce readmissions at a national scale—keeping people as safe and healthy as possible.”

What’s more, CMS has set goals for the Hospital Improvement and Innovation Networks. Through 2019, these Hospital Improvement and Innovation Networks will work to achieve a 20 percent decrease in overall patient harm and a 12 percent reduction in 30-day hospital readmissions as a population-based measure (readmissions per 1,000 people) from the 2014 baseline. In an announcement earlier this month, CMS said pointed to new data that found between 2010 and 2015, hospital readmission rates fell by 8 percent nationally.   

As such, the establishment of these new goals raises the bar for improvements in patient safety in the acute care hospital setting. “The newly identified goal of a 20 percent reduction in all-cause patient harm will continue the strong momentum in improving the quality of care delivered to Medicare patients. The goal for harm reduction set forth during the initial phases of Partnership for Patients periods was to decrease preventable patient harm by 40 percent,” CMS said in the press release.

These efforts resulted in a 39 percent decrease in preventable all-cause harm compared to a 2010 baseline rate of 145/1000, which equated to a 17 percent reduction in overall harm. The new goal of a 20 percent reduction in overall harm is based on a 2014 baseline of 121 harms/1000 and aims to achieve a rate of 97 harms/1000 by the end of 2019.

Expanding the focus for the Hospital Improvement and Innovation Networks to include a reduction in all-cause patient harm supports the development of an overall culture of safety in the nation’s hospitals by creating an environment that supports a high quality, patient-centered approach to care delivery, CMS said. Hospital Improvement and Innovation Networks will also work to expand and develop learning collaboratives for hospitals and provide a wide array of initiatives and activities to improve patient safety in the Medicare program, the agency stated.

“America’s hospitals embrace the ambitious new goals CMS has proposed,” said Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association (AHA). “The vast majority of the nation’s 5,000 hospitals were involved in the successful pursuit of the initial Partnership for Patients aims. Our goal is to get to zero incidents. AHA and our members intend to keep an unrelenting focus on providing better, safer care to our patients—working in close partnership with the federal government and with each other.”

The 16 organizations (listed in alphabetical order) receiving contracts in the Hospital Improvement and Innovation Networks are:

    Carolinas Healthcare System

    Dignity Health

    Healthcare Association of New York State


    The Health Research and Educational Trust of the American Hospital Association

    Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey

    Health Services Advisory Group

    The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania

    Iowa Healthcare Collaborative

    Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) Health Foundation

    Minnesota Hospital Association

    Ohio Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety

    Ohio Hospital Association

    Premier, Inc.

    Vizient, Inc.

    Washington State Hospital Association

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