Reports Finds That New Hampshire Hospitals Reduced Errors

December 31, 2014

New Hampshire hospitals are making progress in reducing both errors and unnecessary readmissions, according to new federal data.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services released a report this month estimating that the 3,700 hospitals across the country participating in the Partnership for Patients program prevented 1.3 million patient harms and re-admissions and saved more than $12 billion in health spending. The report found a 17 percent decline in preventable infections, drug errors and falls from 2010 to 2013. Using methods developed by health care quality experts, it estimated that 50,000 fewer patients died in the hospital and about $12 billion in health care costs was saved as a result of the decline.

Some of New Hampshire’s biggest gains came in fewer patients experiencing pressure ulcers, fewer injuries from falls, fewer adverse drug events and fewer post-surgery infections, the New Hampshire Hospital Association said. From 2011 through June of this year, New Hampshire hospitals prevented 700 patients from experiencing harm and saw 4,300 fewer readmissions compared to before the initiative began. Those efforts translate into a savings of more than $40 million, the hospital association said.

“Greater coordination of care among the state’s hospitals, physician practices, long-term care facilities and home care agencies has begun to make a measureable difference for patients,” said New Hampshire Hospital Association President Steve Ahnen. “Patient safety and quality of care have always been paramount to our hospitals, but through this collective effort, we have further enhanced our ability to improve care and to reduce all causes of harm.”

Medicare and private insurers have started reducing or withholding payments when hospitals make mistakes. The report mentions those financial penalties as likely contributors to the improvement. One in 10 hospital patients still experience such errors, the report found.

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