Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Client News: Partnership Targets Improved Health Care

By: Galen Kusic
Over a 150 people gathered at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center on Friday for the launch of the national Partnership for Patients initiative.
The Obama Administration’s Partnership for Patients: Better Care, Lower Costs, is a new public-private partnership, funded by the Affordable Care Act, that hopes to improve the quality, safety and affordability of health care for Americans.
The goal of the partnership is to not only lower costs and improve care, but to bring together leaders of major hospitals, employers, health plans, physicians, nurses and patient advocates along with state and federal governments to make every hospital stay better for patients.
Congressman George Miller (D-Martinez) addressed the imperative need for health care reform in America, and highlighted the positive impacts of the new initiative’s ability to increase the quality of care in the nation. 
Over 1,300 hospitals, as well as physicians and nurses groups, consumer groups, and employers have pledged their commitment to the new initiative. The Contra Costa Regional Medical Center’s event in Martinez was one of more than a dozen taking place across the nation.
”The president realizes we have to work at the state, regional and local levels to make an impact,” said Obama appointee, Herb Schultz, Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Region IX. “We have changed the lives of men, women and children, and will move forward with implementation.”
The initiative is expected to help save 60,000 lives by stopping millions of preventable injuries and complications in patient care over the next three years, saving up to $35 billion in the process. Of that $35 billion, $10 billion would be for Medicare. 
Spanning the next ten years, it could save $50 billion in Medicare costs, and billions more in Medicaid savings. 
”Real benefits are getting to real people,” said Schultz. “It’s going to take all of us working with employers, labor unions and consumers to make this work. Many of you have worked your entire lives to get affordable health care.”
Joseph McCannon, Senior Advisor to the Administrator of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, stressed the importance of the initiative for all Americans.
”Between 44-96,000 patients die each year due to medical errors,” he said. “We are using reducible efforts to address this very serious problem.”
McCannon informed the crowd that since 2006, only one patient has had a fall in Contra Costa Medical Center. In the last 5-6 years the hospital has had a 97 percent accuracy rate in providing the correct medication to patients, an astonishing track record of excellent care he said.
One pharmacist spoke about how critical it is for pharmacists to work with nurses to decrease medication errors – by taking time out to go over each individual patient’s medication, it can greatly reduce the risk of giving patients the wrong medication.
Terry Leach, Manager of Health Policy for the UC system spoke with optimism about the new initiative and what it means to the UC medical system.
”I’m thrilled to be working with Contra Costa,” she said.
John Kincaid, a Central Valley patient expressed how he was impressed by recent improvements and reforms of late.
”This hospital (Contra Costa) is like mine too,” he said. “They are doing a great job, and they listen to me.”
The two main goals of the Partnership include keeping patients from getting sicker by decreasing hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent from 2010, which would mean 1.8 million fewer injuries to patients.
The other would be to help patients heal without complication. By the end of 2013, hospital readmissions would be reduced by 20 percent compared to 2010. This in turn would mean 1.6 million patients would recover from illness without suffering a preventable complication.
To learn more about Partnership for Patients, click here

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