Multi-Million Dollar CMS Award Aims to Improve Patient Safety

An award of $347 million has been given to 16 organizations involved with the Hospital Improvement and Innovation Network.

The US Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded $347 million to hospital associations, Quality Improvement Organizations, and healthcare organizations to make further improvements in healthcare safety.

These awards, the Hospital Improvement and Innovation Network contracts, are a part of the Hospital Engagement Networks and Quality Improvement Organizations that aim to reduce patient harm and hospital readmissions, according to a press release. The original Partnership for Patients initiative set a goal of reducing patient harm as well.

This effort, along with others, is part of the effort to create an optimal healthcare system for Medicare beneficiaries and all Americans. CMS said they hope to transform the healthcare system to one that provides better care, spends money more wisely, and makes patient-centered care a priority.

“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,” said Patrick Conway, MD, CMS acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer. “The work of the Hospital Improvement and Innovation Networks will allow us to continue to improve health care safety across the nation and reduce readmissions at a national scale – keeping people as safe and healthy as possible.”

Many stakeholders have expressed their support for the new efforts to improve the healthcare system through these programs.

“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 0 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 new goals for the Hospital Improvement and Innovation Networks include a 20% reduction in patient harm and a 12% reduction in 30-day hospital readmissions, according to CMS.

The goal of reducing patient harm was initially implemented in the first phases of the Partnership for Patients where the goal was 40%. The efforts by the organizations resulted in a 39% decrease in preventable patient harm compared with the 2010 baseline of 145 harms/1000.

Reducing preventable harm by an additional 20% aims to reduce the rate to 97 harms/1000 by 2019. The Hospital Improvement and Innovation Networks will develop a learning collaborative to provide initiatives and activities to promote patient safety.

According the CMS, the topics will include:

  • adverse drug events
  • central-line associated blood stream infections
  • catheter-associated urinary tract infections
  • clostridium difficile infection
  • injury resulting from falls and immobility
  • pressure Ulcers
  • sepsis and septic shock
  • surgical site infections
  • venous thromboembolism
  • ventilator-associated events
  • readmissions

CMS will monitor and evaluate the activities of the program to make sure that they are creating ideal results while improving safety.

“Patients and families will benefit immensely from the continuation of the Partnership for Patients’ important work, which was begun in the CMS Innovation Center,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “Innovative approaches to systematically include patients and families in this intensive improvement work have resulted in unprecedented national reductions in harm. We are confident that the more ambitious aims being announced today — and the continued engagement of patients and families in this work – will continue the progress.”