Healthcare Business News
 Mark Chassin, president and CEO of the Joint Commission

Eisenberg Awards honor Minn. readmissions initiative, three others

By Rachel Landen
Posted: January 24, 2014 - 3:30 pm ET

Members of a Minnesota-based campaign to reduce hospital readmissions and participants in a California initiative for patient safety are among the four 2013 recipients of the John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Awards, given by the National Quality Forum and the Joint Commission.

The annual awards, announced Wednesday, honor achievements in patient safety and quality.

The Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement and Stratis Health, both in Bloomington, Minn., along with the Minnesota Hospital Association in St. Paul, won for their Reducing Avoidable Readmissions Effectively campaign. The campaign includes 82 hospital participants that, over a two-year period, have prevented 5,441 avoidable readmissions and saved millions of dollars in healthcare expenses.

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Anthem Blue Cross, Woodland Hills, Calif.; the National Health Foundation, Los Angeles; the Hospital Association of Southern California, Los Angeles; the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties; and the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California, Sacramento, were recognized for their initiative known as “Patient Safety First … a California Partnership for Health.” The program, launched in 2010, is designed to improve quality of care across the state by adopting best practices and strategies to prevent avoidable medical errors and drive improvements in perinatal care, sepsis and hospital-acquired infections. The first phase of the initiative is credited with saving more than 3,500 lives and $63 million.

At the local level, Vidant Health in Greenville, N.C., received an award for its system-wide quality transformation focused on patient-safety training. After a serious blood event resulted in a patient death in 2006, Vidant Health implemented steps toward patient safety that include board literacy in quality, a transparency policy, patient-family partnerships, and leader and physician engagement. The system has since seen an 83% drop in serious safety events and scores in the top 20% for the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems.

Gail Warden, president emeritus of Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, was recognized for his work to enhance patient care as president and CEO of his own system and across healthcare organizations. In a news release, NQF and the Joint Commission called Henry Ford Health System “an institution nationally known for its quality patient care, bench-to-bedside research and outstanding education program.” Warden also served on an Institute of Medicine committee that issued two reports encouraging healthcare organizations to identify and correct medical errors.

“The achievements of this year's Eisenberg Award recipients are exemplary,” Dr. Mark Chassin, president and CEO of the Joint Commission, said in the release. “Their tireless dedication to making their organizations and the healthcare industry safer for patients, saving lives and decreasing costs deserves to be applauded.”

The awards will be presented in February at NQF's annual conference in Washington.

Last year's recipients of the Eisenberg Award included Memorial Hermann Health System, Houston; Kaiser Permanente; and Dr. Saul Weingart, vice president for quality improvement and patient safety at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston.

Follow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden

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