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HHS Announces Continued Reductions in HACs

Federal officials say programs to reduce hospital-acquired infections — including the hospital engagement networks operated by America’s Essential Hospitals and other organizations — saved an estimated 50,000 patient lives and $12 billion in health care costs from 2010 to 2013.

Preliminary estimates from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) show that in total, hospital patients experienced 1.3 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) from 2010 to 2013. This translates to a 17 percent decline in HACs over the three-year period.

“Today’s results are welcome news for patients and their families,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “These data represent significant progress in improving the quality of care that patients receive while spending our health care dollars more wisely. HHS will work with partners across the country to continue to build on this progress.”

The reductions in HACs and avoidable costs result from Affordable Care Act payment incentive programs in Medicare, as well as the work of hospital engagement networks under the ACA’s Partnership for Patients (PfP) initiative, HHS said. America’s Essential Hospitals has contributed to the PfP effort through its Essential Hospitals Engagement Network (EHEN)​, which has helped hospitals prevent 4,015 harmful events and avoid more than $40 million in costs since its inception in 2012.

In their most recent performance period (May to July 2014), EHEN hospitals saw reductions across all 10 conditions targeted in the PfP initiative — a first for the network — with the most dramatic drops in hospital-acquired pressure ulcers (down 60 percent from baseline) and central line-associated bloodstream infections (down 56 percent).

 

 

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About the Author

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

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