The Department of Health and Human Services announced today recent efforts to make hospitals less harmful for patients are driving “historic improvements.”
Since HHS started the Partnership for Patients program in April 2011, hospital-acquired conditions — illnesses or injuries developed within a medical facility — have dropped from 145 harms per 1,000 discharges in 2010 to 132 harms per 1,000 discharges in 2012, slashing $3.2 billion in costs. A nationwide initiative to keep patients on the path toward health while in a hospital, Partnership for Patients is estimated to have prevented 15,000 deaths in 2012 and saved $4.1 billion total.
“The efforts underway are leading to concrete differences in terms of dollars saved for our health care system, and even more importantly, saved lives,” the HHS repost said.
HHS cited the Affordable Care Act as another platform improving hospital conditions and treatment. In 2012, “all-cause 30-day hospital readmission rate among Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries” dropped for the first time in years from more than 19 percent to less than 18.5 percent, and it continues to decrease thanks to ACA.
“The Affordable Care Act includes tools – such as tying Medicare reimbursement for hospitals to their readmission rates and the hospital value-based purchasing program – to improve the quality of health care that can also lower costs for taxpayers and patients. This means avoiding costly mistakes and readmissions, keeping patients healthy, and rewarding quality instead of quantity,” the report said.
HHS says preventing harm and saving money is a win-win scenario, and it will continue to pursue such efforts in 2014.
“[W]e are well on the way toward increasing patient safety, reducing health care costs, providing a more sustainable healthcare system for providers, all while bringing the best, safest possible care to patients,” the repost said.