December 17, 2015

Florida Hospitals Cut Rate of Harm in Half and Save $218 Million Through Statewide Quality Initiatives

New Report Outlines Significant Improvements during Three-Year Participation in National Partnership for Patients Program; Florida Hospital Association Announces Next Phase of Quality Efforts

Tallahassee, FL  - From 2012 to 2014, quality and safety initiatives implemented by Florida hospitals participating in the Florida Hospital Association's Hospital Engagement Network (FHA HEN) helped cut the rate of patient harm in half, preventing at least 27,000 instances of harm and saving $170 million, according to a new report, "Florida's Healthcare Transformation: Better Outcomes, Safer Care, Lower Costs," released today by FHA. Since 2008, efforts to improve patient care have saved at least $217.6 million, according to the report.

The achievements were the result of significant steps taken by 77 hospitals participating in the FHA HEN, part of the national Partnership for Patients program. Hospitals were asked to address 10 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), providing hospitals access to national and local educational events and a broad range of best practices and resources.

The report released today outlined specific improvements in the 10 areas FHA HEN members targeted, including:

  • Readmissions, which decreased by 9.2 percent for a total of 15,000 fewer readmissions. The reduction in readmissions helped save $138 million.
  • Adverse drug events, which were reduced by 4,650. Partnerships with hospital pharmacists helped increase medication safety.
  • Early elective deliveries, or deliveries before 39 weeks, which were reduced by more than 2,700. Some hospitals established "hard stop" policies, which do not allow a delivery before 39 weeks without a medical reason.
  • Catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI), which were reduced by 18 percent. Hospitals participated in monthly conference calls and were able to consult with hospital infection experts to help implement steps to preventing these infections.

"Our HEN results show Florida hospitals made significant strides in improving care, and those improvements added up to millions in cost savings and greater value for patients and communities," said Bruce Rueben, FHA president. "We know the best way to improve our health care system is to provide high quality care and help patients heal more quickly so they can return home sooner. That's top priority for Florida hospitals and what they strive to do each day."

The new achievements add to the gains Florida hospitals made through a series of FHA initiatives between 2008 and 2012. More than 160 Florida hospitals participated in nation-leading programs to reduce hospital readmissions, improve surgical safety and prevent hospital infections. Florida was the first state in the nation to launch a statewide effort to reduce hospital readmissions, and in partnership with the American College of Surgeons (ACS), FHA created the nation's largest statewide surgical quality improvement collaborative.

For their efforts, Florida hospitals were awarded the national American Hospital Association Davidson Award in 2013 and the Florida Health Care Coalition's Community Quality Award in 2014. FHA's surgical quality program became a model for a program now offered nationally by the ACS.

In total, since Florida hospitals began working together on quality and patient safety initiatives in 2008, they have:

  • Saved at least $217.6 million
  • Reduced the rate of harm by 54 percent
  • Lowered readmissions by nearly 10 percent
  • Reduced the rate of surgical site infections by 15 percent
  • Cut the rates of blood stream and urinary tract infections by approximately 40 percent each

FHA Announces Hospital Engagement Network 2.0

To help hospitals continue to drive improvements, FHA has been selected to participate in HEN 2.0 in partnership with HRET. The program began in late September, and 77 Florida hospitals will participate through the FHA HEN. The initiative will run for 12 months and focus on:

  • Improving care at the bedside within nursing units
  • Eliminating care disparities
  • Creating a culture of safety for both patients and caregivers
  • Promoting judicious use of antibiotics to prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Additionally, hospitals will continue their work to reduce hospital readmissions and infections, improve surgical care, prevent falls, increase medication safety and improve care for mothers and babies.

"After seven years of significant quality improvements, we have much to celebrate," said Mark Faulkner, FHA board chair and president/CEO of Baptist Health Care in Pensacola. "We remain committed to continuing this important work to ensure our patients receive safe and effective care."

A full copy of the new report is available online at www.missiontocare.org.