Federal Officials Unveil $1 Billion in Patient-Safety Program Benefits for Western New York Hospitals

August 8, 2011 Updated Aug 8, 2011 at 5:12 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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Federal Officials Unveil $1 Billion in Patient-Safety Program Benefits for Western New York Hospitals

August 8, 2011 Updated Aug 8, 2011 at 5:12 PM EDT

Depew, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- A new federally funded program to assist hospitals with patient safety and quality care initiatives will be the topic of discussion when U.S. Health and Human Services Department Regional Director Jaime Torres, DPM, MS, addresses Western New York hospitals Wednesday morning.

Accompanied by State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah, MD, MPH, and Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Interim Senior Advisor Nancy Nielsen, MD, Dr. Torres will discuss details and support for the Partnership for Patients in an address to executives and department heads of Western New York hospitals. CMMI is an agency of HHS.

The federal Affordable Care Act has set aside $1 billion for the Partnership program to provide technical assistance and monitor improvements in patient safety for healthcare providers, with aggressive improvement goals in seven to ten areas of patient safety and readmission prevention.

The Partnership for Patients has an eye on improving overall patient health while reducing long-term healthcare costs. The program's national goals are ambitious, as it aims to save 60,000 lives over the next three years by reducing preventable injuries and complications by 40 percent and reducing so-called avoidable readmissions by 20 percent.

The Partnership features a national training resource and regional hospital engagement contractors, who will work with individual hospitals to improve and track patient safety and quality care indicators by building on hospitals’ existing quality and patient care improvement programs and offering new options.

Funds for the program, allocated by the national Affordable Care Act, will pay for national training programs, education, and data tracking in hospitals.

More than 40 representatives of Western New York Healthcare Association member hospitals are expected at the event to show their support of, and interest in, this latest national patient care improvement effort.

Area hospitals firmly support quality improvement and patient safety, said John Bartimole, Association president.

"No industry cherishes quality as does healthcare. And in no industry is quality more important,” Bartimole said. “We are thrilled that Dr. Torres is coming to Western New York to promote a quality effort designed to save lives and to improve the experience of patients cared for in our member facilities.”

Nationally, more than 1300 hospitals, physician and nurse groups, consumer organizations and employers have pledged their support to the effort.

In New York, more than 300 healthcare entities have signed onto the Partnership as supportive of its efforts, including 20 Western New York organizations. Among those organizations, ten are hospitals in the eight counties of Western New York.

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