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Texas Hospital Association Launches Patient Safety Institute

Thursday, May 6, 2010 General News J E 4
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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is Founding Underwriter

AUSTIN, Texas, May 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Texas Hospital Association has launched the Texas Institute for Patient Safety within its nonprofit foundation to advance the adoption of proven strategies that enhance the quality and safety of care provided in Texas hospitals.

Through a grant from its founding underwriter, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, the institute will focus initially on two specific projects: a statewide collaborative to reduce or eliminate central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) in hospital intensive care units and a hospital collaborative to reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI). While these two projects are being implemented, the institute also will develop a project designed to reduce hospital readmissions for specific conditions, such as heart failure.

"The recently passed federal health care reform legislation provides incentives to operate more efficiently and effectively. Adopting and consistently following proven strategies that reduce infections are just one example of how we can improve patient outcomes while reducing unnecessary costs," said Dan Stultz, M.D., FACP, FACHE, president/chief executive officer of the Texas Hospital Association. "We are proud to have Blue Cross as a founding supporter of the Texas Institute for Patient Safety. Blue Cross has been a long-time advocate for improving patient care, and their support is an example of the collaboration between payers and providers that truly can transform how health care is delivered."

The institute's projects are a natural fit for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. "Given the opportunity to reduce the adverse consequences of hospital-associated infections, we are pleased to be the institute's first donor to get this vital initiative moving forward in order to reduce or eliminate central line-associated infections and catheter-associated infections," said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., vice president and chief medical officer of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. "One of the most significant needs in health care today is the implementation of quality and patient safety best practices that are consistent from hospital to hospital. We believe this initiative can be the catalyst that moves us closer toward elimination of hospital-acquired infections and higher quality medical care in general."

An estimated 250,000 CLABSIs occur in hospitals each year, and as many as 62,000 patients who get these infections die as a result, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Texas initiative, which will kick off with a May 6 educational event in San Antonio, is designed to replicate the success of an earlier project undertaken in Michigan hospitals by the Keystone Center and the Johns Hopkins University, in which the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program was implemented in more than 100 intensive care units to successfully reduce or eliminate bloodstream infections.

"Participating in this project will provide hospitals with support to implement a program that has been proven to reduce central-line associated bloodstream infections," said Stultz. "We welcome the opportunity to partner with other organizations to spread adoption of this evidence-based program."

Intensive care units in some 35 Texas hospitals and health systems are participating voluntarily in the project, and educational programs and best practices will be available to hospitals statewide. The Texas Hospital Association is one of 10 groups selected to participate in this national initiative. Groups from California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington also will participate.

About the Texas Hospital Association

Founded in 1930, the Texas Hospital Association is the leadership organization and principal advocate for the state's hospitals and health care systems. Based in Austin, THA enhances its members' abilities to improve accessibility, quality and cost-effectiveness of health care for all Texans. One of the largest hospital associations in the country, THA represents more than 85 percent of the state's acute-care hospitals and health care systems, which employ some 355,000 health care professionals statewide. Learn more at www.tha.org or follow THA on Twitter at http://twitter.com/texashospitals.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas - the only statewide, customer-owned health insurer in Texas - is the largest provider of health benefits in the state, working with nearly 40,000 physicians and 400 hospitals to serve 4.5 million members in all 254 counties. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is a division of Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), the country's largest customer-owned health insurer and fourth largest health insurer overall. HCSC is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Contact: Amanda Engler, APR, Texas Hospital Association 512/465-1026 (office) or 512/517-1133 (cell) Margaret Jarvis, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas 972/766-7165 (office) or 214/912-8348 (cell)

SOURCE Texas Hospital Association
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