By Jill Drachenberg, Managing Editor, AHC Media

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) this week awarded $347 million in Hospital Improvement and Innovation Network (HIIN) contracts to 16 hospital associations, quality improvement organizations, and health systems in an effort to reduce readmissions and hospital-acquired conditions.

The goal of the HIIN participants is to achieve 20% reduction in patient harms and reduce readmissions per 1,000 patients by 12% by the end of 2019. The organizations that received the contracts will participate for 24 months initially, and can choose to participate for 12 months after that.

The patient safety initiatives address the following:

  • adverse drug events (with a focus on opioids, anticoagulants, and hypoglycemic agents);
  • central line-associated bloodstream infections;
  • catheter-associated urinary tract infections;
  • Clostridium difficile infection;
  • injury from falls and immobility;
  • pressure ulcers;
  • sepsis and septic shock;
  • surgical site infections for multiple classes of surgeries;
  • venous thromboembolism;
  • ventilator-associated events and
  • readmissions.

“We have made significant progress in keeping patients safe — an estimated 2.1 million fewer patients harmed, 87,000 lives saved, and nearly $20 billion in cost-savings from 2010 to 2014 — and we are focused on accelerating improvement efforts,” said Patrick Conway, MD, CMS acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer. “The work of the Hospital Improvement and Innovation Networks will allow us to continue to improve healthcare safety across the nation and reduce readmissions at a national scale — keeping people as safe and healthy as possible.”

For more information on discharge planning and preventing readmissions, see Hospital Case Management.