CHW Among First to Join Partnership for Patients

San Francisco, CA - April 12, 2011 - Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) is proud to be one of the first hospital systems in the nation to join Partnership for Patients, an initiative designed to make hospital care safer, more reliable, and less costly.

The initiative, announced Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, requires invited members to sign a pledge committing to reduce medical errors and readmissions. The goal, by the end of 2013, is to reduce preventable hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent and decrease preventable complications requiring hospital readmission by 20 percent, compared to 2010.

CHW signed the pledge because it is consistent with the organization's commitment to quality, affordable health care, said Lloyd H. Dean, president/chief executive officer.

"A core tenet of the health care reform plan is that we can improve quality while also reducing costs," says Lloyd H. Dean, CHW President/Chief Executive Officer. "If, as a nation, we can achieve these goals, it will mean saving tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars."

Mr. Dean added that to meet the goals of the Partnership for Patients pledge, CHW will focus on evidence-based practices, transitions of care to and from acute care settings, investments in clinical information systems, and partnerships with other community providers.

CHW has already achieved notable successes in its efforts to improve quality and reduce costs:

Accountable Care: An accountable care organization in Sacramento brought together CHW hospitals with Blue Shield of California and Hill Physicians to care for area CalPERS members. After one year of operation, the pilot program has resulted in an estimated $15.5 million in savings, along with a 17 percent reduction in patient re-admissions, a half-day reduction in the average patient length of stay, a nearly 14 percent drop in the total days patients spend in a hospital, and a 50 percent reduction in the number of patients who stay in a hospital 20 or more days. The model for this project has recently been expanded to City and County of San Francisco employees.

Sepsis Prevention: CHW's severe sepsis prevention program saved nearly 1,000 lives and reduced costs by $36.5 million over a three-year period. Dr. R. Phillip Dellinger, a leader in the international Surviving Sepsis Campaign and the director for critical care at Cooper University Hospital, called CHW's sepsis prevention program groundbreaking. "CHW's caregivers have demonstrated the power of a well-organized quality program that both reduces morbidity and mortality while also achieving significant cost savings," he said.

Preventable Admissions: Through the innovative use of its groundbreaking Community Need Index, CHW hospitals invested $5.7 million between 2008 and 2010 in preventive and disease management programs for patients who had been hospitalized for asthma, diabetes, or congestive heart failure. A total of 8,917 individuals participated in disease management programs, and 86 percent of these patients avoided hospitalization.

The Partnership for Patients brings together leaders of major hospitals, employers, physicians, nurses, and patient advocates along with federal and state governments. The U.S. government will provide resources for technical support to physicians, nurses and other clinicians working in and out of hospitals to test large scale implementation of care delivery models that make patient care safer and to support effective transitions of patients from hospitals.

The initiative will include development of better measures of the quality and safety of care and efforts to help inform consumers and employers in their healthcare decision-making.