Healthcare Business News

Ga. hospitals team up seeking quality gains, lower costs

By Beth Kutscher
Posted: December 12, 2012 - 6:00 pm ET

Nine Georgia hospitals are working together as part of a statewide collaborative that will compare surgical outcomes and ultimately attempt to reduce healthcare costs.

The initiative follows similar efforts in Tennessee and Michigan with some early evidence suggesting that these groups can be successful in saving hospitals money.

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Similar groups are also working on a national level, such as a multihospital collaborative that was formed in 2010 with the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

The Georgia collaborative—which will grow to 14 hospitals next year—will be led by the state chapter of the American College of Surgeons. The ACS unveiled the program today at its Surgical Health Care Quality Forum Georgia, an event that is part of a series focused on improving quality of care.

It will use information from the ACS' National Surgical Quality Improvement Program to compare surgical outcomes against other participating hospitals as well as nationally. A news release about the program cited a study in the September issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons, which found that hospitals that used data from the quality-improvement program each prevented an average of 250-500 complications per year, at a savings of about $3 million per hospital.

Similarly, a study published in the same journal in January found that the 10-hospital Tennessee collaborative saved $2.2 million per 10,000 general and vascular surgery cases when comparing 2010 data with 2009 figures.

The hospitals participating in the Georgia Collaborative are Memorial Health University Medical Center, Savannah; Medical Center of Central Georgia, Macon; Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Dalton; Emory University Hospital and Piedmont Hospital, both in Atlanta; and four WellStar Health System facilities, Cobb Hospital, Austell; Douglas Hospital, Douglasville; Kennestone, Marietta; and Paulding Hospital, Dallas.

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