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National Health Foundation, California's Regional Hospital Associations, and Anthem Blue Cross, Report Patient Safety Collaboration Has Played Vital Role in Saving More Than 800 Lives

Historic, statewide collaborative contributes to saving lives, improving quality of care and reducing health care costs for Californians

LOS ANGELES. August 23, 2011 - In its first year, Patient Safety First…a California Partnership for Health, reports that it has helped save 800 lives by working to prevent sepsis-related deaths. Launched in 2010, Patient Safety First is a groundbreaking three-year, $6-million collaboration between the National Health Foundation, California’s Regional Hospital Associations, and Anthem Blue Cross to improve the consistency and quality of health care for Californians. 

Patient Safety First is one of the most challenging and potentially rewarding endeavors ever undertaken in the health care system,” said Dr. Eugene Grigsby, president of the National Health Foundation, which verified the initial outcomes of the initiative.  “It strives to engage California hospitals in learning collaborations with the specific goal of improving patient safety and cost savings for those needing hospitalization,”

The initiative, which brings together more than 160 participating hospitals from across the state, has led to a:

>>>  41 % reduction in ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP);

>>>  25 % reduction in central line blood stream infections (CLBSI);

>>>  24 % reduction in catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI);

>>>  and a reduction in birth traumas and elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks gestation.

Early data suggest the Patient Safety First initiative in California has already resulted in a cost-avoidance of over $11 million. This is money that would have been used to care for patients who would have developed sepsis and other hospital acquired infections if they had not been able to avoid illness as a result of the shared learning made possible by the collaboration.

“First year results show that this type of collaboration works,” Grigsby said “Lives are being saved, incidents of hospital-acquired infections are being reduced and savings are being achieved. Knowledge gained from the first year of the program will be applied in the second and third year of the initiative to help reach the goal of "zero" hospital acquired infections by the end of year three. Reaching this goal will greatly impact Californians and participating hospitals.”

The nation’s largest state based patient-safety collaborative, Patient Safety First leverages regional peer-to-peer learning networks to accelerate the adoption of established best practices and quality improvement programs such as Sepsis Early Goal Directed Therapy (EGDT); and the new March of Dimes Toolkit established to eliminate non-medically indicated deliveries before 39 weeks gestational age.

“It’s vital that our members and health care consumers throughout the state have access to safe, quality health care, “ said Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Blue Cross. “As we work together to prevent patients from getting sepsis and other hospital acquired diseases, we improve Californians’ quality  of life and use less of our scarce health care resources. The impact of Patient Safety First will be felt by even more Californians as the program expands to additional hospitals.”

This initiative aligns with the national patient safety campaign Partnership for Patients launched earlier this year between the Obama Administration, hospitals, employers, health plans, physicians, nurses and patient advocates to help save lives by stopping preventable injuries and complications in patient care over the next three years, potentially saving billions of dollars in health care costs.

“The best way to improve patient care is through peer to peer learning networks. Practical solutions, commitment, collaboration and accountability are critical in addressing barriers to improvements that accelerate change,” said Art Sponseller, president of the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California.  “This partnership is enabling hospitals to move from the need to improve, to sustainable organizational change through facilitating the implementation of evidence-based best practices. Innovative new programs such as Patient Safety First will ensure that all patients receive the highest care possible.”

Access to quality care at an affordable price is the mainstay of national health reform. At the same time, underpayments from government programs such as Medicare and Medi-Cal are expected to get worse in the coming years while the federal government seeks ways to pay for health care reform and the state continues to battle unprecedented budget deficits; resulting in higher costs and increased strain on resources vital to the delivery of care. Solutions to this perplexing dilemma lie in collaborating efforts, such as Patient Safety First, that bring together key stakeholders in innovative ways to improve the availability and quality of care. 

Already, more than 1,600 participants clinicians and health care industry professionals have  shared best practices that lead to safety and quality improvements. 


About the National Health Foundation:

National Health Foundation (NHF) is an independent, tax exempt 501 (c)(3) public charity dedicated to improving and enhancing the healthcare of the underserved by developing and supporting innovative programs that 1) can become independently viable, 2) provide systematic solutions to gaps in healthcare access and delivery, and 3) have the potential to be replicated nationally.

About the Regional Hospital Associations:

The regional hospital associations are not-for-profit 501(c) (6) regional trade associations comprised of hospitals and health systems, related professional associations and associate members with a common interest in improving the operating environment for hospitals and improving the health status of the communities they serve. Combined, the three associations represent 95% of all hospitals in the state. Our mission is to serve the political, economic, informational and educational needs of hospitals in our regions, and improve the quality and accessibility of health care services and thereby improve the health status of communities.

For more information please visit each regional association’s website:

Hospital Association of San Diego & Imperial Counties,
Hospital Association of Southern California,
Hospital Council of Northern and Central California,

About Anthem Blue Cross:

Anthem Blue Cross is the trade name of Blue Cross of California.  Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Association. ® ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc.  The Blue Cross names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross is available at  Also follow us on Twitter at, in Facebook at, or visit our YouTube channel at

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