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HHS Dispatches $218 Million to 'Partnership for Patients' Hospital Systems

By Jane Norman, CQ HealthBeat Associate Editor

December 14, 2011 -- A Medicare initiative aimed at reducing preventable hospital injuries and complications will distribute $218 million in awards to 26 "hospital engagement networks," Department of Health and Human Services officials recently announced.

The local, state and national hospital systems who get the grants will use the money to improve safety and quality in their facilities. Funding is to be used for projects that they may not have otherwise had the money to put in place, such as better management of chronic illness or health information technology training.

The Partnership for Patients brings together the government and providers, unions, consumer groups and others to reduce the number of hospital-acquired conditions as well as hospital readmissions.

The $1 billion initiative is overseen by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Center, which was created in the health care law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152). The partnership began in April and now has some 6,500 participants, including more than 3,100 hospitals, HHS officials say.

The aim is to reduce preventable hospital errors by 40 percent in the next three years. In unveiling the project earlier this year, HHS leaders said it has the potential to help save 60,000 lives and up to $35 billion in costs, including $10 billion just for Medicare.

HHS said the 26 hospital engagement networks are the American Hospital Association, Ascension Health, the Carolinas HealthCare System, Catholic Healthcare West, the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council Foundation, the Georgia Hospital Association Research and Education Foundation, the Healthcare Association of New York State, the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, Intermountain Healthcare, the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative, Joint Commission Resources Inc., Lifepoint Hospitals Inc., the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, the Minnesota Hospital Association, the National Public Health and Hospital Institute, the New Jersey Hospital Association, the Nevada Hospital Association, the North Carolina Hospital Association, Ohio Children's Hospital Solutions for Patient Safety, the Ohio Hospital Association, Premier, the Tennessee Hospital Association, the Texas Center for Quality & Patient Safety, United Healthcare, the Veterans Health Administration and the Washington State Hospital Association.

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