Florida’s Hospitals Prevent Harm and Save Over $170 Million Through FHA Hospital Engagement Network

Tallahassee, FL (March 9, 2015) – Hospitals participating in a three-year program led by the Florida Hospital Association (FHA) prevented 27,511 instances of patient harm and 15,072 readmissions, saving at least $170 million and reducing the rate of harm by 54 percent, according to a new brief released today. Through FHA’s Hospital Engagement Network (HEN), 77 Florida hospitals achieved these improvements by working together to share best practices, learning from national experts and participating in local training on patient safety topics.

The program was part of the Partnership for Patients initiative, a national campaign launched in 2012 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reduce instances of patient harm by 40 percent and hospital readmissions by 20 percent nationally. Hospitals were asked to address 11 target areas, such as medication safety, infections, falls and elective deliveries before 39 weeks. FHA created its HEN in partnership with the American Hospital Association’s Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET), which allowed hospitals to participate in national educational events and access a broad range of best practices and resources.

The new brief released today outlines specific improvements in the eleven areas FHA HEN members targeted. Significant areas of improvement included:

  • Reduced non-medically necessary deliveries before 39 weeks by 93 percent. 2,711 early deliveries were prevented. All 41 participating maternity hospitals established “hard stop” policies, which do not allow a delivery before 39 weeks without a medical reason.
  • Lowered the rates of catheter associated urinary tract infections by 18 percent. 1,081 infections were prevented. Hospitals participated in monthly conference calls and were able to consult with hospital infection experts to implement steps to prevent these infections.
  • Saved $4.2 million in costs associated with blood stream infections. FHA quality staff conducted site visits and one-on-one coaching to support hospitals.
  • Avoided 15,000 hospital readmissions, saving $138 million through the No Place Like Home Campaign, which highlighted interventions designed to improve care transitions when a patient leaves the hospital.
  • Prevented nearly 1,000 falls with injury. Held multiple educational calls with the national leading expert on falls prevention.
  • Achieved a 61 percent reduction in pressure ulcers. Connected hospitals to national “boot camps” on preventing pressure ulcers and encouraged adoption of the evidence based practices outlined in the toolkit.

“Working together, FHA HEN hospitals were able to cut instances of harm by half in just three years, help thousands of patients spend more nights at home, and significantly reduce the cost of care,” said Bruce Rueben, FHA president. “Through the FHA HEN, hospitals have saved lives and provided greater value to their communities.”

In addition to implementing best practices in the target areas, FHA HEN members also took steps to help patients and their families become more actively involved in their care. Hospitals were encouraged to involve patients and their families in pre-admission discussions and shift changes, establish a patient advisory committee or have a patient sit on the hospitals’ quality committee and include patient representative on the hospital board.

“Florida’s hospitals have demonstrated that working together accelerates improvements, which includes engaging patients and their families as an important part of the health care team,” said Allen Weiss, MD, CEO of NCH Healthcare System and chair of FHA’s Board of Trustees. “The improvements achieved by FHA HEN members give us much to celebrate, and at the same time, we are committed to continuing our work to ensure all Florida patients receive the safest care possible.”

The full 2015 HEN Results Brief is available online at www.FHA.org.