The rate of hospital-acquired conditions declined by 13% from 2014 to 2017, saving the providers $7.7 billion and preventing 20,500 hospital deaths, according to preliminary data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

In the report released Tuesday, AHRQ said hospitals reported 2.55 million hospital-acquired conditions, or HACs, in 2017 for all inpatients 18 years and older, which is down from the 2.94 million HACs reported in 2014. From 2010 through preliminary 2017 data, the average annual reduction in the overall rate of HACs is about 4.5%, the report said.

AHRQ has been reporting a downward trend of HACs at hospitals for some time as the industry continues to focus on preventing them. Since 2014, the CMS has penalized hospitals for HAC rates through its Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program. Additionally, the agency has more than 4,000 hospitals participating in its Hospital Improvement Innovation Networks, which encourage hospitals to tackle patient safety issues through evidence-based practices.

To calculate the HACs, AHRQ uses 28 measures that address a variety of patient safety events like adverse drug events, catheter-associated urinary tract infections and pressure ulcers.

The AHRQ report shows that some conditions have seen bigger drops than others. For instance, the number of adverse drug events from 2014 to 2017 decreased by 28%. At the same time, the number of pressure ulcers events actually went up by 6% during the same time period.

“Our work isn’t done and we will continue our efforts to hold providers accountable for delivering results,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said.

The CMS has set a goal of reducing HACs by 20% from 2014 to 2019, which could result in 53,000 fewer deaths and save $19.1 billion in hospital costs, AHRQ said.



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