“It was President Carter's idea,” said Joe Kiani, founder of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation, which is campaigning to help U.S. hospitals reach zero preventable deaths in their facilities by the year 2020. “When he found out, he wanted to join the effort.”
Hospitals across the nation have undoubtedly learned that improving quality and safety can be elusive, requiring time, financial resources and leadership commitment. But they have to show results on at least one of nine patient-safety challenges—such as preventing sepsis, medication errors and hospital-acquired conditions—to get in the swim of things for this competition. The top three to show the best before-and-after outcomes by June 2015 and “measurably demonstrate the most lives saved” will be given two spots each on an exclusive fishing outing with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter. So far, more than 500 hospitals are in the pool, Kiani said.
The getaway, scheduled for Sept. 18-19 at the Brigadoon Lodge in the North Georgia mountains, may not be as demanding as the ongoing challenge to improve hospital safety. But that doesn't mean attendees can expect to catch a break. Carter, after all, has been an avid fisherman for nearly four decades. He has even written a book about his outdoor escapades, sharing how he and his wife have had to “wade in trout streams, follow a bird dog, freeze in duck ponds and entice 'amorous' tom turkeys,” according to the Carter Center.
There likely will not be a prize for the one who catches the most fish, but there could be “a gentleman's bet once they get there,” Kiani said. The most likely scenario he anticipates though is, “We'll all be watching President Carter catch the fish.”