KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

HHS Finds Hospitals Getting Safer

The administration credited the improvements at least partially to the Affordable Care Act.

The Associated Press: Gov’t Report: Hospitals Improving Patient Safety
The government says hospitals are becoming safer for patients due to a quality improvement partnership between industry and federal agencies. A report out Wednesday from Health and Human Services finds that adverse events such as medication mistakes, falls and infections went down by 9 percent from 2010 to 2012, the latest year that such statistics were available (5/7).

The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: Hospitals Are Cutting Down Their Deadly Mistakes, HHS Says
That translates to 15,000 fewer deaths in hospitals, a $4.1 billion savings in avoidable costs and a total of 560,000 "patient harms" avoided in 2011 and 2012, HHS says. For reference, a Journal of Patient Safety study last year estimated anywhere between 210,000 and 400,000 hospital deaths tied to preventable harm each year (Millman, 5/7).

Kaiser Health News: Hospitals Boost Patient Safety, But More Work Is Needed
The Obama administration credited the new quality initiatives created by the federal health law. But some of the improvements in patient safety preceded that law. Even with the improvements, one out of eight patients is injured during their time in the hospital (Rau, 5/7).

The Hill: HHS Reports O-Care Cut Into Hospital Deaths
The report also found while 30-day Medicare hospital readmission held at a steady 19 percent between 2007 and 2011 that number dropped to 17.5 percent by 2013. According to HHS that meant 150,000 fewer hospital readmissions among Medicare beneficiaries between January 2012 and December 2013 (Al-Faruque, 5/7).

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