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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

Patient safety summit next month will focus on preventable hospital deaths, including those caused by health care associated infections

The Patient Safety Movement Foundation and the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare are partnering to host a summit next month targeting preventable hospital deaths, many of them caused by health care associated infections (HAIs).

The Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit, scheduled January 11-13, 2014 in Laguna Niguel, CA, will gather industry leaders to focus on three problematic areas in health care today – improving the effectiveness of hand-off communications, creating a culture of safety, and reducing HAIs. These three new focus areas will add to the challenges identified in the 2013 Summit, which included failure to rescue, medication errors, blood transfusion overuse, , sub-optimal neonatal oxygen targeting, failure to detect critical congenital heart disease, and intravascular catheter-related infections. Concerning the latter, the patient advocacy group has created an Actionable Patient Safety Solution (APSS) specifically on central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs).

“At any given time, about one in every 20 patients in hospitals have an infection related to their hospital care,” says Joe Kiani, founder of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation and CEO of medical technology company Masimo.

The patient safety group argues that that Congress should expand the current Medicare policy on hospital acquired conditions (HACs) to include a list of causes of preventable death. If preventable, and the hospital has implemented evidence based strategies for prevention -- such as the APSS created by Kiana’s foundation -- the hospital would receive payment for the primary condition.

“If the hospital had not implemented the strategy, then payments for both the primary and secondary conditions would be denied,” he explains. “Also, if hospitals implement evidence based practices such as the APSS, they should be shielded from malpractice lawsuits to the fullest extent possible, such as through an affirmative defense and limits on damages.

The Affordable Care Act addresses this in part by creating new penalties for HAIs but “penalties alone will not fix this problem,” Kiani says. “We need to align the incentives so that hospitals administrators are driven to put systems in place to prevent these avoidable harms and deaths."

As part of the 2014 Summit, the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare and the Patient Safety Movement Foundation will promote new ways of tackling additional patient safety challenges. The goal of the Summit will be results that show improvement in patient safety and quality through the solutions discussed to ultimately achieve zero preventable deaths by 2020.