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CMS Efforts to Reduce Hospital-Acquired Conditions Save $2.9B

Recent data show that CMS-led efforts are effectively reducing hospital-acquired conditions and improving patient safety nationwide.

CMS efforts are reducing HACs and saving $2.9B

Source: Thinkstock

By Jessica Kent

- The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released a report showing that CMS-led patient safety initiatives have reduced hospital-acquired conditions, helping to prevent an estimated 8,000 deaths and saving $2.9 billion in hospital costs between 2014 and 2016.

The AHRQ National Scorecard on Hospital-Acquired Conditions estimates that 350,000 hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) were avoided, reducing the rate by 8 percent from 2014 to 2016.

Estimates are based on a new, expanded population set of hospital patients and were calculated using a measurement strategy developed by AHRQ.

AHRQ also developed many of the tools hospitals used to reduce HACs.

The new National Scorecard shows a decline in overall harms across several categories of HACs, including infections and adverse drug events, which dropped by 15 percent from 2014 to 2016.

Federal experts point out that the newly released data is consistent with earlier results, including a 17 percent drop in HACs from 2010 to 2014.

“The results show that this is a tremendous accomplishment by America’s hospitals in delivering high-quality, affordable healthcare,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.

“CMS is committed to moving the healthcare 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.”

CMS aims to reduce HACs by 20 percent from 2014 through 2019. With the help of the Hospital Improvement Innovation Networks (HIINs), CMS provides focused quality improvement assistance to more than 4,000 of the nation’s 5,000 hospitals by spreading best practices in harm reduction.

Once CMS meets the 20 percent goal, AHRQ predicts that there would be 1.8 million fewer patients with HACs through 2019, resulting in 53,000 fewer deaths and saving $19.1 billion in hospital costs.  

CMS supports multiple programs and initiatives that work to improve patient and hospital safety, including the Quality Improvement Network through Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIO), the work of the HIINs, and the End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Network Program.

These networks provide technical assistance and spread evidence-based best practices to reduce HACs.

CMS and AHRQ also plan to continue their support of front-line providers, helping them to deliver quality care to patients while both agencies work to improve patient safety and reduce healthcare costs.

The new results indicate that the two federal agencies have made great strides in boosting hospital safety, but they also allow the organizations to identify areas where further improvements are needed.

“Estimates in the new National Scorecard identify important goals for ongoing efforts to protect patients,” said AHRQ Director Gopal Khanna, MBA.

“These data not only help us track how we’re doing, but they help us set the target for where we need to go. We continue to work with HHS and others to develop tools and resources hospitals and clinicians can use to reach those goals.”

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