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Reductions in HACs Save Lives, $12 Billion

Patients across the country experienced 1.3 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) from 2010 through 2013, according to a recent report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

This accounts for a total decline of 17 percent in HACs over the three-year span and a projected savings of about $12 billion in health care costs. Additionally, AHRQ estimated that the reduction in HACs averted 50,000 patient deaths in hospitals, with the majority of those lives saved as a result of reducing rates of pressure ulcers and adverse drug events.

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established a variety of interventions designed to work in cooperation with one another to reduce adverse health events in the hospital setting:

  • Community Based Care Transitions Program
  • technical assistance and care coordination through quality improvement organizations
  • Partnership for Patients initiative
  • alignment of payment policies

America’s Essential Hospitals participated in the Partnership for Patients through its Essential Hospitals Engagement Network (EHEN). Through their work in EHEN, member hospitals avoided about 4,000 patient harm events and saved an estimated $41 million.

Contact Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at or 202.585.0127 with questions.


About the Author

Matt Buechner is the policy and advocacy associate for America's Essential Hospitals.

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