Hospital Safety Efforts Saved 8000 Lives From 2014 to 2016, CMS Says

Kerry Dooley Young

June 11, 2018

About 350,000 hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) have been prevented and 8000 lives saved in recent years through national efforts to combat events such as drug reactions and the spread of infections, a federal agency said. This work also is estimated to have saved $2.9 billion over the same 2014-2016 period.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has updated projections on the progress made in combating HACs. Previously reported research estimated that efforts to combat HACs from 2010 through 2014 saved about $19.9 billion and prevented about 87,000 inpatient deaths.

"This work could not be accomplished without the concerted effort of our many hospital, patient, provider, private, and federal partners — all working together to ensure the best possible care by protecting patients from harm and making care safer," Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement.

CMS has a goal of reducing HACs by 20% from 2014 through 2019. Through the agency's Hospital Improvement Innovation Networks, CMS provides assistance in spreading information about best practices in harm reduction.

Still, AHRQ reported some increases in certain HAC conditions in its national scorecard covering the results seen between 2014 and 2016. It noted increases in pressure ulcers (10%) and catheter-associated urinary tract infections (4%), even with significant drops in other conditions. AHRQ reported a 32% decrease, for example, in ventilator-associated pneumonias and a 9% decrease in falls.

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