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Patient Safety First Initiative Wins Prestigious 2013 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety & Quality Award  

Effort is three-year partnership with WellPoint’s California affiliated health plan, National Health Foundation and Regional Hospital Associations

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 13, 2014-- Patient Safety First … a California Partnership for Health, was awarded today the esteemed John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award by the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission. The award recognizes the partnership’s work in reducing early elective deliveries, hospital-acquired infections, and avoiding 3,576 deaths and more than $63 million in otherwise unnecessary hospital costs between 2009 and 2012.

“Collaborations are at the heart of any meaningful effort in making positive change in health care,” said WellPoint CEO Joseph Swedish. “This is why we are especially pleased and honored that the Patient Safety First Initiative has been recognized by arguably the most prestigious national safety and quality award. It validates all the progress that the partners continue to make working together to reduce hospital-acquired infections and early elective deliveries.”

PSF is a statewide collaborative among the Hospital Council of Northern & Central California, the Hospital Association of Southern California, the Hospital Association of San Diego & Imperial Counties, National Health Foundation and California hospitals and WellPoint’s California affiliated health plan.

The Eisenberg award recognizes major achievements for individuals and organizations in improving patient safety and health care quality. An award panel comprised of nationally recognized patient safety and health care quality experts identified by The Joint Commission and NQF will evaluate award submissions and identified award recipients.

The collaborative’s mission is to improve quality and reduce health care costs across the state. Since the inception of the collaborative in 2010, PSF member hospitals have shown significant improvement in four important hospital-based avoidable harm initiatives: sepsis mortality, ventilator associated pneumonia, central line blood stream infections and perinatal gestational age deliveries under 39 weeks. More specifically, approximately 40 hospitals consistently reported before and after data, and their results show:

  • 74 percent reduction in early elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks gestational age
  • 57 percent reduction in cases of ventilator associated pneumonia
  • 43 percent reduction in cases of central line blood stream Infections
  • 26 percent reduction in sepsis mortality

“As part of the greater health system and as medical professionals, our first responsibility is to help ensure safe, high quality health care for all Americans,” said WellPoint Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sam Nussbaum. “Patient Safety First’s collaborative learning model to prevent hospital-acquired infections and reduce early elective deliveries and greater risk for newborns helps us to deliver on that promise. This award is a testament to the program’s importance and accomplishment and many people in California benefited, including Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and members of other health plans.”

The improvement in care and reduction in infections, deaths and costs avoided were calculated by comparing all population data from 2012 to baseline data provided by the same hospitals in 2009.

With more than 180 hospitals participants and 40 hospitals consistently reporting before and after data, PSF is the largest statewide collaborative effort focused on patient safety in the nation. Not only is Patient Safety First unique in its size and scale, but it is distinctive in that it brings together a health plan, hospital associations, a non-profit organization and private and public hospitals as partners in an effort to improve care, health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. The collaborative is open to both hospitals in and outside of the network of WellPoint’s affiliated health plan in California, and because the improvements are made at the hospital level, benefits are not exclusive to members.

To facilitate improvement within hospitals, Patient Safety First adopted components of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Breakthrough Series Collaborative Model for Achieving Breakthrough Improvement developed in 1995. This model is a validated learning system that brings together a large number of teams from hospitals or clinics to seek improvement in a focused topic area. Peer-to-peer learning occurs through multidisciplinary hospital teams, peer-to-peer networking and expert speakers. Hospital teams use the knowledge gained through Patient Safety First programs to implement best practices in their hospitals.

For a copy of the report, please visit http://www.nhfca.org/psf/docs/760.NHF_EndOfYearReport_FINAL.pdf.

The patient safety awards program, launched in 2002 by NQF and The Joint Commission, honors John M. Eisenberg, M.D., M.B.A., former administrator of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Dr. Eisenberg was also a member of the founding Board of Directors of NQF. In his roles both as AHRQ administrator and chair of the federal government’s Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force, he was a passionate advocate for patient safety and health care quality and personally led AHRQ’s grant program to support patient safety research. Other recipients of the Eisenberg Award are former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Donald Berwick (2006) and the Leapfrog Group (2003).

This is the second time that one of WellPoint’s affiliated health plans has won an Eisenberg award for patient safety. In 2008, WellPoint’s affiliated health plan in Virginia was recognized for its development and implementation of performance-based reimbursement programs for Virginia hospitals, cardiologists and cardiac surgeons. These programs are known as the Quality-In-Sights®: Hospital Incentive Program (Q-HIPSM) and Quality Physician Performance Program (Q-P3SM). Q-HIP and Q-P3 reward hospitals and physicians for practicing evidence-based medicine and implementing other nationally recognized best practices. By aligning hospital and physician goals, these unique programs foster collaborative efforts to improve care across the health care system. By using the metrics based on all-payer, non-administrative data, Q-HIP and Q-P3 endeavor to bring high quality care to all patients and communities.

About WellPoint, Inc.

WellPoint is one of the nation’s leading health benefits companies. We believe that our health connects us all. So we focus on being a valued health partner and delivering quality products and services that give members access to the care they need. With nearly 68 million people served by our affiliated companies including nearly 36 million enrolled in our family of health plans, we can make a real difference to meet the needs of our diverse customers. We’re an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We serve members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; and as the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In most of these service areas, our plans do business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, or Empire Blue Cross (in the New York service areas). We also serve customers in other states through our Amerigroup and CareMore subsidiaries. To find out more about us, go to wellpoint.com.

Source: WellPoint, Inc.

WellPoint, Inc.
Lori McLaughlin, 317.407.7403
Lori.McLaughlin2@wellpoint.com

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