Public Policy

POLICY CORNER: SHM Pledges Support to Patient-Safety Initiative


On April 12, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius joined the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator Donald Berwick, MD, in announcing a major patient-safety initiative bringing together hospitals, clinicians, consumers, employers, federal and state governments, and many more groups around two common goals: reducing harm caused to patients in hospitals and reducing hospital readmissions.

SHM was one of the first physician groups to sign on to the Pledge of Support, which aims to reduce hospital-acquired conditions by 40% and decrease preventable readmissions within 30 days of discharge by 20%, both by the end of 2013.

The pledge includes specific expectations for each of the different healthcare entities signing on. By signing, SHM agrees on behalf of hospitalists that they will work together to redesign activities within the hospital to reduce harm, learn from experiences and share best practices, and engage with patients and families to implement practices that foster more patient-centered care that improves safety, communication, and care coordination.

HHS is committing a total of $1 billion from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) to support hospitals and other providers in their efforts to reach these goals. Of the funding, $500 million will come through the Community-Based Care Transitions Program (CCTP) created in the ACA to help community-based organizations partnering with eligible hospitals to improve transitions between settings of care. The other $500 million will come from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to test different models of improving patient care, patient engagement, and collaboration in order to reduce hospital-acquired conditions and improve care transitions nationwide.

The partnership takes the best ideas from the public and private sectors and accelerates their spread to achieve a safer, higher-quality healthcare system for all Americans. It aligns Dr. Berwick’s triple aim (improve care, improve people’s health, and reduce the overall cost of healthcare) with SHM’s efforts to improve quality and patient safety through innovation and collaboration.

SHM’s Project BOOST ( is listed in the solicitation for applications for the CCTP, and SHM’s VTE resource room is among the resources posted on the partnership website.

For more information on the initiative, visit TH

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