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MA Hospitals Commit to National Patient Safety Improvement Goals At "Hospitals on the Hill" Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Contact:Catherine Bromberg
May 10, 2010781-262-6027

Boston, MA – While the political and public debate regarding healthcare quality, healthcare financing and job creation continue across the state and the nation, Massachusetts hospitals have been working non-stop to keep their patients, employees and communities healthy and safe. Today, hospital leaders and frontline workers from throughout Massachusetts joined state policymakers at the Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA)’s Hospital Day on the Hill, to highlight ongoing quality and safety initiatives and announce a statewide initiative to move beyond pioneering public reporting and transparency to make measurable, concrete improvements in hospital performance.

"Patient safety and high quality care are priorities at Massachusetts hospitals, and Bay State hospitals are national leaders in voluntary reporting of patient quality and safety information," MHA President & CEO Lynn Nicholas told the crowd at the association's event in the Great Hall of the Massachusetts State House. "But Massachusetts hospitals are committed to doing even more to improve healthcare quality and patient safety. Today MHA is announcing an association-wide initiative to move beyond our pioneering public reporting and transparency to make measurable, concrete improvements in hospitals’ performance. MHA is proud to announce that our member hospitals will be early adopters of the American Hospital Association (AHA)'s proposed Strategic Performance Commitment that focuses on 'advancing a healthcare delivery system that improves health and healthcare.'"

The AHA Strategic Performance Commitment has three specific targets:

  • QUALITY: reducing the national mortality rate;
  • EFFICIENCY: reducing the national readmissions rate;
  • SAFETY: reductions in central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI).

In Massachusetts, hospital-specific mortality, readmission and CLABSI rates are already publicly reported, and there are improvement programs underway. Mortality rates are reported on the Hospital Compare website and are also a focus of the state’s Health Care Quality and Cost Council (HCQCC). Readmissions are likewise reported on Hospital Compare and are the focus of a Commonwealth Fund-supported IHI STAAR grant, in which 23 Massachusetts hospitals and their communities are participating. The state has also issued a strategic Plan for Care Transitions that targets readmissions.

Central line infection occurrences are reported by Massachusetts DPH, and 12 Massachusetts hospitals are participating in an AHA Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) grant for the “Comprehensive Unit-Based Safety Program” (CUSP-CLASBI).

"While all hospitals will work to improve their own rates, the goal is to reduce the statewide numbers,” Nicholas said. “In fact, as we refine our targets, I expect Massachusetts hospitals will commit to an even more aggressive approach than the one adopted nationally."

For example, Bay State hospitals will be looking at ways to reduce the data lag in posting results, and aim to release indicators on the PatientCareLink website in near-real-time, Nicholas said.

PatientCareLink is the next generation of PatientsFirst, the nation's groundbreaking healthcare resource dedicated to voluntarily providing patients, families and caregivers with the most transparent information available on the care provided at Massachusetts hospitals. PatientCareLink is sponsored by MHA and the Massachusetts Organization of Nurse Executives (MONE). The PatientCareLink website was re-vamped in March to provide a broader scope of information and in-depth insight into the care Massachusetts hospitals provide. Visit the site at www.patientcarelink.org 

Other speakers at the event included: 

  • Ellen M. Zane, MA, president & CEO, Tufts Medical Center and chair of MHA's Board of Trustees
  • The Honorable Richard T. Moore, State Senator & Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
  • Walter H. Ettinger, M.D., president, UMass Memorial Medical Center
  • John W. Polanowicz, president & CEO, Marlborough Hospital
  • Paulette Seymour Route, PhD, MS, RN, president of the Massachusetts Organization of Nurse Executives (MONE), and dean and professor, UMass Worcester Graduate School of Nursing