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New Jersey Hospital Association Wins $7 Million Contract

Partnership for Patients' grant meant to improve healthcare quality, safety, and affordability in state hospitals.

The New Jersey Hospital Association announced Wednesday that it has won a $7 million, two-year federal contract to bring Partnership for Patients, a national quality initiative, to the state's hospitals. The award to the NJHA's nonprofit affiliate, the Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey, was made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The partnership is designed to improve healthcare quality, safety, and affordability.

NJHA chief executive officer Betsy Ryan said the project will offer "resources, support, and a solid statewide framework to tackle some of the obstacles in our healthcare system that make it difficult to provide the best care in the most efficient, affordable way."

NJHA said Partnership for Patients seeks to improve hospital performance on such quality markers as adverse drug events, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central line-associated blood stream infections, injuries from falls, adverse obstetrical events, pressure ulcers, surgical site infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and preventable readmissions.

State Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd said the funding "Provides the opportunity to improve quality efforts in New Jersey's hospitals. This project will enhance patient care and follow-up and create safer hospital environments, which will ultimately result in more efficient use of resources, reduced readmissions, and lower overall cost of care."

The NJHA project will be directed by Aline Holmes, R.N., senior vice president of clinical affairs and director of the NJHA Institute for Quality and Patient Safety, and Dr. Firoozeh Vali, vice president of research.

"Since the landmark To Err is Human report was released in 1999, numerous studies have documented medical errors and quality of care concerns," said Vali. "We as healthcare providers must do better -- and we believe we can by applying new efficiency models coupled with standardized quality improvement strategies and deep data analysis." Among other things, the report indicated that as many as 98,000 hospital patients in the United States die each year from preventable medical errors.

While much of the work will zero in on hospitals' internal operations, Holmes said the ultimate goal is patient-centered, with an eye to "Better care, more satisfied patients, and improved healthcare outcomes that lead to a healthier New Jersey."

NJHA said it will work with hospitals to improve organizational and system efficiency as a foundation for quality improvement, focusing on methods that have been found to reduce healthcare professionals' stress, improve hospital operational efficiency, improve healthcare quality and reduce costs. NJHA will use a collaborative model to create an interactive group of hospitals and health systems that will take part in education, analysis, information and data exchanges.

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