California Saves Money, Lives With Hospital Infection Reduction Effort
A three-year campaign by Patient Safety First -- a collaboration of California hospitals and health care industry groups -- to reduce health care-associated infections has saved more than $60 million and prevented more than 3,500 patient deaths, according to a National Health Foundation report released Monday, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports (O'Neill, "KPCC News," KPCC, 8/5).
Each year, there are an estimated 200,000 hospital-related infections in California that cost the state about $600 million. Such infections cause about 12,000 patient deaths annually (California Healthline, 8/23/11).
Details of Campaign
The campaign – which launched in 2010 – includes:
- Anthem Blue Cross;
- The Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties;
- The Hospital Association of Southern California;
- The Hospital Council of Northern and Central California; and
- National Health Foundation (Anthem Blue Cross release, 8/5).
Leaders of the initiative say that the health care providers work together to develop strategies for reducing hospital-acquired infections. According to the officials, such strategies include:
- Brushing patients' teeth more often and swabbing patients' mouths with hydrogen peroxide to reduce bacteria;
- Documenting steps taken in the delivery of care;
- Eliminating unnecessary procedures;
- Following procedural checklists;
- Sterilizing equipment; and
- Washing hands (California Healthline, 8/23/11).
The campaign is funded by Anthem.
Results of the Campaign
According to the California Department of Public Health, more than 180 hospitals in the state have participated in the program's peer-to-peer training methods.
Among 40 hospitals that consistently reported data to the campaign, the report found that cases of:
- Early elective deliveries before 39 weeks of gestation decreased by 74%;
- Ventilator-associated pneumonia decreased by 57%;
- Central line blood stream infections decreased by 43%; and
- Sepsis mortality decreased by 26% ("KPCC News," KPCC, 8/5).
According to the report, the reduction in sepsis mortality alone has saved about 3,576 patient lives.
In addition, the report found that the campaign has reduced health care costs by about $64 million (NHF report, August 2013).
J. Eugene Grigsby -- president and CEO of NHF -- said, "This is the largest consortium of hospitals that have come together in any state working on trying to improve conditions in hospitals" ("KPCC News," KPCC, 8/5).
He added, "Particularly impressive is that these outcomes have been achieved in spite of the fact that participating hospitals are extremely diverse; large and small, not-for-profit and for-profit, sectarian and non-sectarian, independent or in systems and geographically dispersed throughout California" (Anthem Blue Cross release, 8/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.