A new safety initiative, known as the Great Lakes Partners for Patients, is up and running and advocates say it will reduce infections and other adverse health issues for people who are admitted to the hospital.
Danny Chun, vice president of corporate communications and marketing for the Illinois Health and Hospital Association, said it's a unique initiative by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). He added that Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan are collaborating to make sure patients get the best care possible while admitted.
"Hospitals that are in this program will be focusing on the best practices and ways to reduce what are called hospital-acquired conditions," he explained. "You know, things like infections, preventing falls, preventing things that should not happen to a patient in a hospital."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1.7 million hospital-associated infections cause or contribute to 99,000 deaths each year.
The CMS said efforts over the past several years to improve hospital safety have paid off with an estimated 2.1 million fewer patients harmed, 87,000 lives saved and nearly $20 billion in cost savings from 2010 to 2014.
Chun said preventing infections, falls, bed sores and adverse drug reactions are part of the program, but another focus is what happens to a patient once they're discharged.
Added Chun, "When you're about to leave the hospital, what are the things the patient and the family need to know about the followup? Getting the prescription drugs they need to get, the follow-up appointments with their primary-care physician."
More than 330 hospitals and health systems from Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin are expected to participate in the Great Lakes Partners for Patients.