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February 1, 2019

HAC improvements saved $7.7B and prevented over 20,000 deaths, AHRQ finds

Daily Briefing

    The rate of hospital-acquired conditions fell by 13% from 2014 to 2017, saving billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives, according to a report released Tuesday by HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

    About the report

    AHRQ's report quantifies trends in 28 patient safety measures, including adverse drug events, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, Clostridioides difficile (C.diff) infections, falls, pressure ulcers, and surgical site infections. The latest report included data from 2014 through 2017, although the report noted the 2017 data are preliminary.

    Since 2014, CMS has penalized hospitals with high rates of hospital-acquired conditions under its Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program. The agency has set a goal of reducing hospital acquired conditions by 20% from 2014 through the end of 2019.


    The report found the rate of hospital-acquired conditions fell by about 13%, from 99 per 1,000 hospitalizations in 2014 to about 86 per 1,000 hospitalizations in 2017.

    In total, the preliminary 2017 data show hospitals reported 2.55 million hospital-acquired conditions for all adult inpatients, down from the 2.94 million reported in 2014.

    The report stated that 910,000 fewer hospital-acquired conditions occurred in 2017 than would have occurred if the 2014 rates had continued. Those reductions helped prevent more than 20,000 deaths and saved about $7.7 billion, according to the report.

    While the overall hospital acquired condition rate fell, the rates for individual conditions varied. For example, C. diff infections and adverse drug events fell by 37% and 28%, respectively, from 2014 to 2017. Meanwhile, pressure ulcer events rose by 6% over the three-year period, and the number of surgical site infections remained the same (Baker, "Vitals," Axios, 1/31; Castellucci, Modern Healthcare, 1/29; Commins, HealthLeaders Media, 1/29; Brooks, Medscape, 1/30).

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