WASHINGTON, D.C. — April 12, 2011 — Leaders of the Campaign for Better Care today applauded the new federal Partnership for Patients program and urged every hospital in the country to sign its safety pledge. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced the new program, which includes concrete goals to decrease hospital acquired infections and unnecessary hospital readmissions, this morning. The Campaign for Better Care launched an initiative of its own, designed to complement and expand the new federal program: the Healthy Hospital Initiative: Patients Demanding Better Care at the Bedside + Beyond.
The broad-based Campaign, which has built a consumer coalition with more than 150 organizations, works to protect vulnerable older patients with multiple health problems and ensure that they can access well-coordinated, quality health care. At a time when 1.7 million health care associated infections occur in hospitals each year leading to 100,000 deaths, its Healthy Hospital Initiative will aggressively organize consumers all around the country to engage patients and families in efforts to improve hospital care.
"If we are going to make hospitals places where patients get safer and not sicker, we need every hospital to sign the Partnership for Patients’ new pledge," said Campaign for Better Care leader Debra L. Ness, who is president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. "But that is only the first step. We intend to mobilize patients and family members to partner with hospitals to improve care, because no hospital can achieve patient-centered care without directly involving patients and families. As we strive for better care for our oldest and sickest patients, we simply must help hospitals be part of the solution and not the problem."
Ness said that the Healthy Hospital Initiative will partner with state and local allies including: Health Care for All (in Massachusetts); Pittsburgh: Consumer Health Coalition; and Cincinnati: UHCAN Ohio; among others.
"States grappling with steep budget deficits shouldn’t be spending precious resources on preventable medical errors, mistakes and readmissions, especially as many are cutting their Medicaid budgets," agreed Robert Restuccia, Executive Director of Community Catalyst, a Campaign for Better Care partner. "Partnership for Patients will pave the way for safer, better coordinated care and, in doing so, will help states save money and save lives."
Restuccia said the Healthy Hospital Initiative will reach out to every state lawmaker across the country to encourage them to work with hospitals to achieve the goals of the Healthy Hospital Initiative, conduct online advertising geared to health care providers in target markets, and produce a white paper on patient safety and care coordination. All this is geared to improving the quality of care and care coordination at America’s hospitals.
"Hospital acquired infections and preventable readmissions can be greatly reduced when hospitals follow proven models of care," said Emily Spitzer, Executive Director of the National Health Law Program (NHeLP), which also is a Campaign for Better Care partner. "Simple steps to coordinate a patient’s care increase the likelihood of a successful recovery, save our limited health care dollars and make better use of Medicaid and Medicare funds. Every hospital should take the pledge and meet the Campaign for Better Care’s Healthy Hospital Initiative goals."
"Reducing medical errors is critical to reducing health disparities for communities of color and people with low incomes," added Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a lead partner in the Campaign for Better Care. "The Obama administration and Secretary Sebelius should be commended for launching the National Patient Safety Initiative, and we urge them to hold hospitals, clinicians and other stakeholders in the health care system accountable for meeting the initiative’s goals of reducing medical errors and saving lives."
The Campaign for Better Care aims to ensure that the reformed health care system provides the comprehensive, coordinated, patient- and family-centered care that older adults and individuals with multiple health problems need. It is advocating for better ways of delivering care including effective care coordination, transition management, medication reconciliation, support for patients and their family caregivers, and care that is culturally and linguistically appropriate.
Learn more about the Campaign for Better Care’s Healthy Hospital Initiative.