Building a Partnership for Patients
By Don Berwick, Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
On a daily basis, health care providers work diligently to administer the highest quality care to their patients. Despite the dedication of each individual doctor and nurse, an alarming number of patients are inadvertently harmed in the current health care system. Any life lost resulting from accidental harm incurred in the American health care system is one death too many.
Patients all across the US have shared their stories with our department, including patient advocate, Sorrel King. In 2001, Sorrel’s 18-month old daughter Josie accidentally suffered burns requiring a hospital stay. At first, Josie was getting better. However, after a series of unintentional, but totally preventable, mistakes and complications, Josie died. She became one of 44,000 to 98,000 Americans who die every year from preventable medical errors.
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the launch of the Partnership for Patients: Better Care, Lower Costs, a new public-private partnership that will help improve the quality, safety and affordability of health care for all Americans.
Today, hospitals, physicians, nurses, and consumer advocates along with CEOs from major employers, State officials, and others participated in an event to pledge their commitment to this new initiative. HHS announced that $1 billion in Affordable Care Act funding will go to help achieve these two shared goals:
- Keep patients from getting injured or sicker. By the end of 2013, to decrease preventable hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent compared to 2010.
- 1.8 million fewer injuries to patients over the next three years
- More than 60,000 lives saved over the next three years
- Help patients heal without complication. By the end of 2013, to decrease preventable complications during a transition from one care setting to another, so that all readmissions would be reduced by 20 percent compared to 2010.
- More than 1.6 million patients will recover from illness without suffering a preventable complication requiring re-hospitalization within 30 days of discharge
Achieving these goals will take the combined effort of many stakeholders within the health care system. Many of them have already pledged to join with the Federal government in a shared effort to save thousands of lives, stop millions of injuries, and take important steps toward a more dependable and affordable health care system. Check out the pledge here.
No family should have to suffer the same tragedy as the King family did. The Partnership for Patients, will help improve patient safety dramatically in our nation. It will support health care providers and hospitals to do exactly what they want to do: provide safe and effective care at a sustainable cost.
Visit our Partnership for Patients Fact Sheet to learn more.