New Data Shows Declines in Hospital-Acquired Conditions Saved 8,000 Lives and Billions in Costs

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According to the June 5 press release from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), new data released this month by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) found that national efforts to reduce hospital-acquired conditions (HACs)—such as adverse drug events and injuries from falls—helped prevent an estimated 8,000 deaths and saved $2.9 billion between 2014 and 2016.

The AHRQ National Scorecard on Hospital-Acquired Conditions estimates that 350,000 HACs were avoided from 2014 to 2016, reducing the national HAC rate by 8 percent. The newly measured declines in HACs parallel earlier gains. Both, Federal and private experts note that the gains in safety among hospitals  echoed earlier successes, including an estimated 2.1 million hospital-acquired conditions avoided between 2010 and 2014, $19.9 billion in health care cost savings and 87,000 prevented deaths.

CMS is a key partner in this patient safety work and has set a bold goal of reducing HACs by 20 percent from 2014 through 2019.

Through the work of the Hospital Improvement Innovation Networks (HIINs), CMS provides intensive, focused quality improvement assistance to more than 4,000 of the nation’s 5,000 hospitals. The HIINs, together with federal agencies, private partners and patient advocacy organizations, work collaboratively to make hospital care safer.

“Today’s results show that this is a tremendous accomplishment by America’s hospitals in delivering high-quality, affordable health care,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma in a statement. “CMS is committed to moving the health care system to one that improves quality and fosters innovation while reducing administrative burden and lowering costs. This work could not be accomplished without the concerted effort of our many hospital, patient, provider, private and federal partners—all working together to ensure the best possible care by protecting patients from harm and making care safer.”

In a continuous effort to reduce costs and improve quality, CMS supports not only the HIINs, but a host of other organizations focused on patient safety, including the  Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs) and the ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) Network. These organizations provide direct technical assistance and support the spread of evidence-based best practices to reduce HACs via systematic quality improvement work.

More information on CMS-led patient safety efforts is available here.