Multi-year initiative with Colorado hospitals reduces health care costs by millions

focus_hospitalA two-year, federally-funded quality improvement project — led by the Colorado Hospital Association and implemented at 55 Colorado hospitals — has resulted in more than $8.4 million in reduced health care costs and 916 fewer episodes of patient harm or readmission.

The Partnership for Patients campaign, a public-private partnership of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, aims to reduce inpatient harm by 40 percent and avoidable readmissions by 20 percent at U.S. hospitals over a two- to three-year period. This national effort utilizes Hospital Engagement Networks to facilitate quality-improvement work and provide technical assistance and education to hospitals. CHA partnered with the American Hospital Association’s Health Research and Educational Trust to oversee the Partnership for Patients campaign and Hospital Engagement Networks in Colorado. Approximately $98 million in federal funding has been allocated across 33 states to support this effort.

Over the last two years, CHA has worked to achieve notable improvements in the focus areas below (Note: data below is for all Hospital Engagement Network hospitals reporting applicable data, not necessarily for all 55 hospitals, as not every hospital participates in all of the focus areas):

  • Early elective deliveries:  94 percent of reporting hospitals now have a hard-stop policy for early elective deliveries, surpassing the federal compliance goal of 80 percent.
  • Obstetrical (OB) adverse events: Six Colorado Hospital Engagement Network hospitals have had no OB adverse events for at least 12 months, while 20 hospitals (65 percent of the total Hospital Engagement Network participants) providing OB services have achieved at least a 40-percent reduction in OB adverse events.                 
  • Pressure ulcers: 76 percent of reporting hospitals achieved a 40 percent or greater reduction in pressure ulcers from baseline, or had zero pressure ulcers for six months or more.                                                    
  • Readmissions: Reporting hospitals have maintained an all-cause readmission rate of less than 8 percent for more than 24 months, resulting in 620 fewer readmissions with an estimated health care cost savings of $5.9 million. This is particularly remarkable given Colorado’s readmission rate was already below the national average at baseline.
  • Venous Thromboembolism: An estimated 143 VTE cases have been prevented to date, translating to approximately $1.4 million in reduced health care costs.
  • Adverse Drug Events: 69 percent of reporting hospitals have shown at least a 40 percent reduction from baseline, or at least six months with no ADEs.
  • Central Line-Associated Blood Stream Infections: 90 percent of reporting hospitals have achieved at least a 40 percent reduction in CLABSI, or have had zero CLABSI cases in six months or more.
  • Surgical Site Infections: 63 percent of reporting hospitals have achieved at least a 40 percent reduction in SSIs, or have had no SSIs in six months or more.
  • Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia: 70 percent of reporting hospitals have achieved at least a 40 percent reduction in the rate of VAP, or have had no cases of VAP in at least six months.

“Patient care quality is improving and health care costs are being avoided, thanks to the efforts of Colorado hospitals,” said Nancy Griffith, RN, CHA director of quality improvement and patient safety. “The commitment of hospital leaders, physicians, nurses and others to improve quality is resulting in better outcomes, shorter lengths of stay and fewer return trips to the hospital.”

In collaboration with HRET, CHA has employed three major strategies to drive improvement efforts and engage front-line staff and hospital leadership in this important work. These strategies include engaging hospital and physician leadership; providing best practice models and cross-discipline education and training; and expanding quality improvement activities.

CHA received funding for a third year of Hospital Engagement Networks work and will continue these important initiatives with participating hospitals.

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