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Association Applauds Patient Safety Accomplishments

America’s Essential Hospitals today joined federal officials in applauding health care safety initiatives, such as the association’s Essential Hospitals Engagement Network (EHEN), for averting patient harm and saving money.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported an overall 9 percent decrease in hospital-acquired conditions nationally in 2011 and 2012, which is estimated to have prevented 15,000 deaths and saved $4 billion. HHS also reported an 8 percent reduction in avoidable hospital readmissions in 2012 and 2013.

“This is outstanding news and reflects the hard work of essential hospitals and other providers who have committed to improving health care quality and safety,” said David Engler, PhD, senior vice president of leadership and innovation for America’s Essential Hospitals. “We have seen tremendous progress among our members to reduce harm and share best practices, and it’s having a real impact on health and costs.”

HHS pointed to the federal Partnership for Patients (PfP) among examples of programs and agencies that have contributed to harm reduction and cost savings. The America’s Essential Hospitals EHEN, one of 26 hospital engagement networks in the PfP, recently announced a third year of funding for its work to reduce hospital-acquired conditions and readmissions at 22 member hospitals.

The EHEN, the only safety net-focused hospital engagement network, has taken a two-pronged approach to reducing harm by coaching and educating frontline clinical staff and training hospitals’ executive teams to foster a culture of patient safety.

EHEN hospitals also have been working to eliminate health care disparities based on race, ethnicity, and language, and have boosted patient and family engagement in care. EHEN hospitals are uniquely positioned to reduce disparities in care because of their experience in treating diverse patient populations with varying health needs. In its third year, the EHEN plans to accelerate its health equity efforts, as well as focus on sustainability models at the clinical and executive levels to ensure that hospitals can maintain the harm reductions they achieved.

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About America’s Essential Hospitals America’s Essential Hospitals, formerly the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, is the leading association and champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the most vulnerable. Since 1981, America’s Essential Hospitals has initiated, advanced, and preserved programs and policies that help these hospitals ensure access to care. It supports members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education.

Our more than 220 members are vital to their communities, providing primary care through trauma care, disaster response, health professionals training, research, public health programs, and other services. They innovate and adapt to lead the broader health care community toward more effective and efficient care. Visit to learn more.

Carl Graziano


About the Author

Graziano is senior director of communications for America's Essential Hospitals.

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