Saturday, December 17, 2011

Improving Hospital Care

The HHS sponsored “Partnership for Patients” initiative, a nationwide public-private collaboration to improve the quality, safety, and affordability of healthcare has awarded $218 million to 26 state, regional, national, or hospital system organizations to establish Hospital Engagement Networks.

The “Partnership for Patients” program has more than 6,500 partners, including over 3, 167 hospitals, along with 2345 physicians, nurses, patient advocates, 892 consumers and consumer groups, and 256 employers and unions. Plus the program includes health plans, area agencies on aging, state and federal government officials to work together to reduce the number of hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent and reduce hospital readmissions by 20 percent by the end of 2013.

To achieve this goal, Hospital Engagement Networks funded from the CMS Innovation Center via funding from the Recovery Act will develop collaborative learning for hospitals and provide a wide array of initiatives and activities to improve patient safety.

The Networks will help to identify solutions already working to reduce healthcare acquired conditions and then spread the information to other hospitals and healthcare providers. In other words, these organizations will serve as mobile classrooms.

The Networks will be required to establish a secure web-based data collection and management portal. Through this portal, the networks will have access to hospitals measurement data and will use that information to evaluate progress and focus attention on efforts or hospitals that have yet to see improvements.

The Networks will be required to provide reports to CMS describing their activities and progress in their quality improvement efforts. These reports will be operational reports, improvement reports, and a final report to CMS at the end of the 24 month work period detailing the successes, failures, and unintended consequences, and areas of improvement in each of the ten core areas.

The funding went to the 26 Hospital Engagement Networks and include AHA, Ascension Health, Carolinas HealthCare System, Catholic Healthcare West, Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Foundation, Georgia Hospital Association Research and Education Foundation, Healthcare Association of New York State, Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, Intermountain Healthcare, Iowa Healthcare Collaborative, Joint Commission Resources, Inc., Lifepoint Hospitals, Inc., Michigan Health & Hospital Association, Minnesota Hospital Association, National Public Health and Hospital Institute, New Jersey Hospital Association, Nevada Hospital Association, North Carolina Hospital Association, Ohio Children’s Hospital Solutions for Patient Safety, Ohio Hospital Association, Premier, Tennessee Hospital Association, Texas Center for Quality & Patient Safety, UHC, VHA, and Washington State Hospital Association.

In addition to the Hospital Engagement Contract awards, HHS has also awarded $10 million to three firms to help the “Partnership for Patients” program achieve their goals. One of the companies Econometrica was selected to create a curriculum in patient safety and to provide support for culture change and operational implementation.

The company will develop an organizational assessment to help the participating hospitals identify their opportunities for improvement, help to set goals, and help to connect the best practices of the participating hospitals with a national faculty of leaders.

The company WeberShandwick was selected as the Beneficiary and Medical Professional Engagement Contractor. Under this contract, the company will engage Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP beneficiaries along with their families and caregivers and others on specific activities supporting the aims of the “Partnership for Patients” program. The plan is to raise awareness of patient safety and ways to seek improvement by developing and deploying tools to help patients and families achieve smooth care transitions.

Health Services Advisory Group was selected as the Evaluation Contractor to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the Partnership for Patients program. In this capacity, the company will be conducting an analysis of the impact of the overall program and provide an ongoing assessment of the program.