WSHA wins major federal contract to improve patient safety statewide

September 29, 2015

For Immediate Release

WSHA wins major federal contract to improve patient safety statewide

Partnership for Patients contract recognizes WSHA’s successful model of improving health care

SEATTLE, Wash. — The Washington State Hospital Association’s record of success in collaborative quality improvement will continue, thanks to the award of a federal contract to make major improvements in 17 key patient-safety topics and reduce harm and overall cost of health care. WSHA was one of just 17 awarded nationally to take part in this work. As a Hospital Engagement Network (HEN), WSHA will support hospitals’ rapid improvements in important areas of care.

“We are committed making care safer for patients,” said WSHA President and CEO Scott Bond. “It is thrilling to be awarded this contract to partner with CMS on Partnership for Patients. Our member hospitals and health systems are motivated and pushing us forward on this work. But motivation isn’t enough: the resources from the contract help make it possible and accelerates large-scale change.”

“We have made significant progress in keeping patients safe and we are focused on accelerating improvement efforts through collaboration and reliable implementation of best practices,” said Patrick Conway, M.D., CMS acting principal deputy administrator and chief medical officer. “This second round will allow us to continue to improve health care safety across the nation.”

Program Goals

Partnership for Patients will help accelerate the identification and sharing of best practices with the goal to reduce all-cause harm (that is, harm to a patient receiving medical care from any cause or source). A total of 96 hospitals in Washington, Alaska and Oregon will be collaborating with WSHA in this work.

The goal is to reduce the incidences of harm in all of these areas by 40 percent:

  • Adverse Drug Events
  • Catheter-association urinary tract infections (CAUTI)
  • Central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSI)
  • Injuries from falls and immobility
  • Obstetrical adverse events, including the reduction of early elective deliveries
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Surgical site infections
  • Venous thromboembolism
  • Ventilator-associated events

In addition, WSHA will be working to reduce all cause harm by:

  • Reducing mortality from sepsis
  • Improving culture and worker safety
  • Reducing Clostridium difficile
  • Reducing undue exposure to radiation
  • Early intervention mental health
  • Increasing immunizations
  • Piloting evidence based practice for Safe Delivery Roadmap pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and first month after delivery
  • Improving diabetic care in rural centers

There is also a goal of reducing readmissions by 20 percent.

“Working with CMS in the first round of Partnership for Patients, we saved 23,000 patients from harm and reduced $235 million in health care spending,” said Carol Wagner, WSHA’s Senior Vice President for Patient Safety. “There is more to be done. We’re determined to drive preventable harm down to zero.”

WSHA’s Record

WSHA’s patient safety program started more than 10 years ago as part of the 100,000 Lives campaign. In December 2011, WSHA received the first Partnership for Patients contract; two years later, CMS upped the challenge with the Leading Edge Advanced Practice Topics (LEAPT) contract, which was received by only five other organizations in the country. Both of those contracts ended at the end of 2014.

With tremendous partnership and leadership with member hospitals, the contract was able to make dramatic changes in health care. Here are a few of the top statistics:

  • 11,700 fewer readmissions (a 27 percent reduction)
  • 3,200 fewer early deliveries (94 percent reduction)
  • 89 percent reduction in ventilator-associated pneumonia
  • 60 percent reduction in pressure ulcers
  • 53 percent reduction in hospital deaths due to sepsis.

“We’re proud of the progress we’ve seen already, but that doesn’t mean we’re satisfied with it,” said Wagner. “This is a national problem, and working on a national initiative is the best way to spread knowledge quickly across the country.”

Other Major Themes

In addition to the specific outcomes of the program, the Partnership for Patients initiative also expects that the HENs will work to address other issues in pursuit of safety across the board, including:

  • Health care disparities
  • Patient and family engagement
  • Other topics, such as creating a culture of safety in a hospital; increasing antimicrobial stewardship and reducing undue exposure to radiation.

National Effort

WSHA is one of 17 organizations across the country to receive the contract.

From the CMS Website ( The Partnership for Patients is focused on making hospital care safer, more reliable, and less costly through the achievement of two goals:

  • Making Care Safer. Decrease preventable hospital-acquired conditions by 40% compared to 2010. Achieving this goal would mean approximately 1.8 million fewer injuries to patients.
  • Improving Care Transitions. Help patients heal without complications. Decrease preventable complications during a transition from one care setting to another so that all hospital readmissions would be reduced by 20 percent compared to 2010. Achieving this goal would mean more than 1.6 million patients will recover from illness without suffering a preventable complication requiring re-hospitalization within 30 days of discharge.

The preliminary evaluation report (PDF) and appendix (PDF) provides insights on progress towards achieving these goals, in addition to the HHS press release in December 2014.

About Washington State Hospital Association
Washington State Hospital Association represents all of Washington’s community hospitals. The association takes a major leadership role in issues that affect delivery, quality, accessibility, affordability and continuity of health care. It works to improve the health status of the residents of Washington state. WSHA is online at

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