Doctors, nurses and other health care providers work incredibly hard to deliver the best care possible to their patients. Unfortunately, an alarming number of patients are harmed by medical mistakes in the health care system and far too many die prematurely as a result.
In April 2011, the federal government launched the Partnership for Patients. The Partnership for Patients is a nationwide public-private partnership that aims to improve the quality, safety, and affordability of health care for all Americans. The Partnership for Patients brings together leaders of major hospitals, employers, physicians, nurses, and patient advocates along with state and federal governments in a shared effort to make hospital care safer, more reliable, and less costly.
The two goals of Partnership for Patients are;
- Making care safer. The Partnership for Patients aims to decrease preventable hospital-acquired conditions by 40% compared to 2010. Achieving this goal would mean approximately 1.8 million fewer injuries to patients over three years.
- Improving care transitions. By avoiding preventable complications during a transition from one care setting to another, the Partnership for Patients aims to reduce all hospital readmissions by 20% compared to 2010. Achieving this goal would mean more than 1.6 million patients would recover from illness without suffering a preventable complication requiring re-hospitalization within 30 days of discharge.
Achieving these goals will save lives and prevent injuries to millions of Americans, and has the potential to save up to $35 billion across the health care system, including up to $10 billion in Medicare savings, over the next three years. Over the next ten years, it could reduce costs to Medicare by about $50 billion and result in billions more in Medicaid savings. This will help put the nation on the path toward a more sustainable health care system.
Over 3,700 hospitals have pledge to the goals of the Partnership for Patients. In December 2011 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded $218 million in contracts to 26 State, regional and national hospital system organizations to serve as Hospital Engagement Networks (HEN) to support the hospitals in their efforts.
The HENs develop content, conduct learning activities, and make best practices available to partner hospitals in ten core focus areas. In addition the HENs provide technical assistance for hospitals and other providers, and establish and implement a system to track and monitor hospital progress in meeting quality improvement goals consistent with the aims of the Partnership for Patients.
The core areas for hospital-acquired conditions are:
- Adverse drug events (ADE)
- Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI)
- Central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSI)
- Injuries from falls and immobility
- Obstetrical adverse events (including EED)
- Pressure ulcers
- Surgical site infections (SSI)
- Venous thromboembolism (VTE)
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP)
- Preventable readmissions
In addition, HENs address topics relating to organizational structure – such as leadership and culture change – to reduce all-cause harm and preventable readmissions.
Based on a selective competitive acquisition process, CMS awarded a contract allowing the NC Quality Center to operate a regional Hospital Engagement Network (HEN), the North Carolina Virginia Hospital Engagement network (NoCVA). The NC Quality Center partners with the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA), the Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence (CCME) and Healthcare Team Training (HTT) to collaboratively lead the improvement initiatives of NoCVA. This team is believed to be well suited to help the Partnership for Patients achieve its goals.
One hundred sixteen hospitals belong to NoCVA: 83 NC hospitals and 33 VA hospitals. In addition to NoCVA, other HEN sponsors in the two states include Carolinas Healthcare System, Premier, LifePoint, Ohio’s Children’s, VHA and University Hospital Consortium (UHC).