Raising Patient Safety Awareness Across the Country

By Joe McCannon, Senior Advisor to the Administrator, CMS. Cross-post from Heathcare.gov

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is continuing to work with a wide variety of public and private partners to improve the care and services patients receive in our health system.

We are proud to announce that we have collaborated with nearly 4,500 organizations, including over 2,000 hospitals that have officially committed to improving patient safety by joining the initiative! In fact, HHS is thrilled to recognize the 100% participation rate by Iowa hospitals to promote innovations to improve hospital care and reduce wasteful spending.

Are you a partner? If so, you can add the badge below to your website. All you need to do is click here or on the image below and grab the code provided on the right side of the page where it says “show code.”

Building off the extraordinary work many local hospitals and health systems around the country have already been doing – from Denver Colorado to Richmond Virginia – the Partnership for Patients aims to improve the quality, safety and affordability of health care for all Americans.

One Denver hospital in particular is setting the bar for Patient Safety. Last month, HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, visited Denver Health along with Dr. Don Berwick, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Denver Health, along with other hospitals and organizations across the country are committed to providing better health care.

Check out this PBS NewsHour program to learn why improving health outcomes and lowering costs go hand in hand. Seven years ago, Denver Health took a structured approach to improving quality and safety. By focusing on high opportunity clinical circumstances, Denver Health ranks first, with the lowest ratio of deaths according to the 2010 University Health System Consortiums Quality and Aggregate Score. While this success is encouraging, too many Americans go without quality healthcare: which is where the Partnership for Patients comes in.

CMS Administrator Don Berwick meets with VCU medical students.

This partnership is connecting health care providers all across the nation. At a recent visit to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Secretary Sebelius learned about the “time-out” towel. This towel is used to cover surgical instruments at Regions Hospital to help ensure operations don’t being until safety protocol has been observed. This partnership is fostering innovation and encouraging health care providers to share their own success stories.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius visiting Regions Hospital in St. Paul.

To kick off this unprecedented partnership, two goals have been identified:

•Reduce preventable injuries in hospitals by 40 percent
•Cut hospital re-admissions by 20 percent

By achieving these goals and providing better care, countless Americans will have more healthy years to spend with their loved ones. Together we can build a stronger, safer health care system and he Partnership for Patients helps us do just that, one hospital at a time.

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