The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will pump up to $1 billion, funded under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, into a new program to dramatically increase patient safety within two years.

More than 500 hospitals, as well as physician, nursing, consumer and employer groups, have committed to join the Partnership for Patients program. Information technologies that aid in identifying safety issues and quickly developing changes in patient health status could be used to support initiatives under the program.

The goals are to reduce the number of hospital-acquired conditions by 40% by the end of 2013, compared to 2010; and to cut preventable complications during a transition of care, reducing readmissions by 20%.

Hospitals participating in the partnership are asked to initially focus on nine specific issues:

* Adverse drug events,

* Catheter-associated urinary tract infections,

* Central line-associated blood stream infections,

* Injuries from falls and immobility,

* Obstetrical adverse events,

* Pressure ulcers,

* Surgical site infections,

* Venous thromboembolism, and

* Ventilator-associated pneumonia.

HHS will offer grants totaling $500 million to community-based organizations partnering with hospitals to improve safety during care transitions, with applications now being accepted.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Center will fund up to $500 million in additional grants to test different models of improving care, patient engagement and collaboration to reduce hospital-acquired conditions and improve care transitions.

Joseph Goedert is news editor at Health Data Management a SourceMedia publication.

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