CMS awards $347 Million to Healthcare Groups to Improve Patient Safety

September 30, 2016

This article originally appeared at Modern Healthcare  ( on Sept. 29, 2016.

By Elizabeth Whitman  | September 29, 2016


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) named 16 healthcare organizations Thursday to receive Hospital Improvement and Innovation Network contracts, worth a total of $347 million, with the mission of measurably improving patient safety by decreasing hospital-acquired conditions and hospital readmissions.

The contracts lay out “ambitious, challenging new goals” and “significantly raises the bar” in patient safety, Dr. Patrick Conway, CMS' acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer, told reporters in a call Thursday.

The 16 organizations, a collection of hospital associations, quality improvement organizations and health system organizations, will support 4,000 hospitals for the next two years, starting this month. They are tasked with reducing overall patient harm to Medicare beneficiaries by cutting infections by 20% and slashing 30-day readmissions by 12% by the end of 2019, compared to 2014.

After the 24-month base period, the networks have the option of participating for an additional 12 months.

The goals for reducing patient harm build on previous declines achieved with hospital engagement networks, part of the CMS Innovation Center's Partnership for Patients Program. Those improvements included 2.1 million fewer harmful events to patients and 87,000 lives saved from 2010 to 2014, and they also saved $20 billion.

The success of those efforts demonstrated "a significant change in our culture of healthcare," said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, a not-for-profit that counts promoting quality healthcare as part of its work, during a call with reporters. Collaboration among providers, clinicians and patients was key, she said.

Reducing all-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,” the CMS said in a news release announcing the contracts.

The groups CMS selected for Hospital Improvement and Innovation Network contracts are Carolinas Healthcare System, Dignity Health, Healthcare Association of New York State, HealthInsight, 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 Health Foundation, Minnesota Hospital Association, Ohio Children's Hospitals' Solutions for Patient Safety, Ohio Hospital Association, Premier, Vizient and the Washington State Hospital Association.

The CMS will monitor the progress of these networks, which are required to focus on 11 fundamental areas of harm, including adverse drug events, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, antibiotic stewardship, and surgical site infections. They are expected to engage hospitals, other providers and caregiver communities to implement best practices. They have the option of addressing other areas, too, such as diagnostic errors, malnutrition and a hospital's culture of safety.

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