New Patient Safety Program Launched under Affordable Care Act

The “Partnership For Patients” program was officially launched today under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This $1 Billion program, announced by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), aims to improve patient outcomes by reducing infections contracted in hospitals and by improving the percentage of patients who heal without complications, thereby reducing hospital readmissions.

The two main goals of the Partnership for Patients program are, by 2013, to:

  1. Decrease the number of hospital-acquired infections and other adverse conditions by 40 percent, compared to 2010, and
  2. Cut hospital readmissions by 20 percent, compared to 2010.

Over 500 hospitals, as well as numerous doctors, have signed up for this voluntary program, pledging to work toward meeting these goals. Doctors and hospitals who meet specific goals and objectives under the program may be eligible for monetary incentives. The program funds studies to help medical professionals and policy makers understand how to improve patient care and safety going forward.

View this introductory news report on the program by a Michigan television station »

HHS has required the 500 hospitals that have volunteered to participate in the program to focus initially on nine issues, including adverse drug events, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central-line infections, pressure ulcers, and surgical site infections, among others.

One-half of the funding for the Partnership for Patients Program is provided under the Affordable Care Act through grants to hospitals and community-based organizations participating in the project. The other half of the funding is provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, which will spend $500 million “to test different models of improving patient care and patient engagement and collaboration in order to reduce hospital-acquired conditions and improve care transitions nationwide.”

It is anticipated that increased use of Health IT will be required both to help carry out and measure the results of studies included within the Partnership for Patients Program, and also as part of the long-term solution to be implemented toward meeting the goals of the Program. For example, the goal of reducing hospital readmissions will require improved communications among health care providers and between patients and providers. Health IT such as electronic health records, patient registries and remote patient monitoring have been identified as needed tools to help achieve this goal.

Read more on the Health IT implications of the new Program at: New government patient safety program will need health IT – FierceHealthIT

For more information on the Partnership For Patients Program, see the HHS website,

See also the Fact Sheet on the Program issued by HHS.


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