Health Plans Join Partnership to Promote Patient Safety, Lower Hospital Readmission Rates

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Examples of health plan initiatives to reduce healthcare-acquired infections, never events, and preventable readmission

Examples of Health Plan Initiatives to Reduce Healthcare-Acquired Infections, Never Events, and Preventable Readmissions

Evidence continues to mount that far too many patients are harmed as the result of preventable events that occur during the course of receiving medical care. In fact, a just-released report published in Health Affairs finds that errors and adverse events occur in one in three hospital admissions. The Institute of Medicine's landmark report concluded that up to 98,000 patients per year die as a result of such events.

In light of these alarming findings, preventing patients from getting injured, helping patients to heal without complications, and helping patients to avoid preventable readmission to a hospital have become national priorities that are now to be addressed in a concerted way by the “Partnership for Patients” initiative being announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today.

“We are proud that health plans have played a leadership role in bringing patient safety programs to the delivery system,” AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni said. “We pledge to work together with the public sector and other stakeholders to further reduce hospital admissions and prevent hospital acquired infections.”

Health plans have a proven track record of promoting patient safety and high quality care with programs that are aimed at protecting patients, especially those who are most vulnerable.

Health plan programs emphasize outreach and collaboration with members and their families as active partners in getting better, safer care; use incentives to promote improvements in safety and other dimensions of quality and value; and align efforts with other stakeholders to measure performance so that patients and clinicians have the information they need to make good decisions. These are the same goals as “Partnership for Patients.”

Health plan programs focus on important priority areas such as reducing healthcare acquired infections, so-called “never events,” preventable hospital readmission and dangerous drug interactions.

Individual plans are achieving results, and AHIP industry studies on hospital readmission find that compared to fee-for-service, Medicare Advantage plans reduced emergency room visits by 24 percent, hospital readmission by 30 percent, certain potentially avoidable hospital admissions by 10 percent, and inpatient hospital days by 20 percent.

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