Feds Cite Sharp Drop in Hospital-Acquired Conditions

Preliminary data released by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services credits Medicare-funded Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) and Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) contractors with contributing to a nine percent decrease in hospital-acquired conditions nationally during 2011 and 2012. HHS posits that fewer adverse drug events, falls, infections, and other forms of hospital-induced harm resulted in an estimated 15,000 fewer deaths in hospitals and avoidance of 560,000 patient injuries over the same period. Another topic that QIOs have been working on during this period is community-based care transitions activities aimed at improving handoffs among providers and thereby reducing avoidable rehospitalizations of Medicare patients. HHS finds that 30-day readmission rates held constant at 19 percent from 2007 to 2011 but decreased to 18.5 percent in 2012 and to approximately 17.5 percent in 2013. According to HHS, this equates to an 8 percent reduction in the rate and an estimated 150,000 fewer hospital readmissions among Medicare beneficiaries between January 2012 and December 2013. “We’re proud that the national network of QIOs has played an instrumental role in the national quality improvements that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced—including reduced hospital readmissions, adverse drug events, and more,” said Todd Ketch, Executive Director of the American Health Quality Association (AHQA), the trade association representing the nation’s network of QIOs. “All of these achievements have contributed not only to improved quality of care and quality of life for America’s seniors and their loved ones, but also to significantly reducing health care costs nationwide.” To view the report, visit: http://innovation.cms.gov/Files/reports/patient-safety-results.pdf.