Healthcare industry saves $2.9 billion as hospital-acquired conditions decrease
The rate of hospital-acquired conditions declined by 8% from 2014 to 2016, saving the industry $2.9 billion and preventing about 8,000 deaths, according to new data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
In a report released Tuesday, AHRQ said preliminary data for 2016 shows there were about 2.69 million hospital-acquired infections (HACs) among all hospital inpatients 18 years and older, down from 2.92 million HACs in 2014.
The new results are on trend with data from AHRQ in 2016, which found that from 2010 to 2014 the rate of HACs decreased by 17%.
However, AHRQ did change the baseline rate used for this new analysis, which likely impacts the results from the 2016 report. The new rate started at 98 HACs per 1,000 hospital discharges in 2014 and ended at 90 HACs per 1,000 discharges. In the 2016 AHRQ report, the 2010 rate was calculated as 145 HACs per 1,000 discharges and the 2014 rate was 121 HACs per 1,000 discharges.
Both reports use the same 28 measures of patient safety events including hospital-acquired infections and adverse drug events.
The downward trend in HACs is in part due to concentrated efforts by the CMS. Since 2011, the agency's Partnership for Patients initiative has encouraged hospitals to make significant strides in infection control and patient safety issues like injuries from falls.
The CMS also motivated hospitals to pay attention to HACs through its Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program, which since 2014 penalizes hospitals with a 1% payment reduction based on the HACs reported compared to their peers.
"CMS is committed to moving the healthcare system to one that improves quality and fosters innovation while reducing administrative burden and lowering costs," CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. "This work could not be accomplished without the concerted effort of our many hospital, patient, provider, private and federal partners all working together to ensure the best possible care by protecting patients from harm and making care safer."
The HHS has set a goal to reduce HACs nationwide by 20% by 2019. AHRQ estimates that if the goal is achieved, it would lead to $19.1 billion in savings and 53,000 fewer deaths from 2015 through 2019.
AHRQ also announced that it's developing a new system to measure the national HAC rate. The agency currently uses the Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System but it's now working with federal partners on the development of the Quality and Safety Review System, calling it "an improved system to succeed MPSMS."
AHRQ said the system will be able to measure more HACs not currently captured by MPSMS. It can also be used by non-federal entities like hospitals to measure patient safety.
AHRQ is working with the National Quality Forum to garner feedback from stakeholders on the new system.
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