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Press Release

Anthem Blue Cross-Funded Patient Safety First Initiative Wins Prestigious 2013 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety & Quality Award


Effort is 3 Year Partnership with National Health Foundation, Regional Hospital Associations


WASHINGTON D.C. – Patient Safety First…a California Partnership for Health (PSF) was awarded the esteemed John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award by the National Quality Forum (NQF) and The Joint Commission today in Washington, D.C. for the collaborative’s work in reducing early elective deliveries, hospital-acquired infections, and avoiding 3,576 deaths and more than $63 million in otherwise unnecessary hospital costs between 2009 and 2012.


“It’s a true honor to be recognized with the Eisenberg award, and it validates all the hard work we and our partners have done in reducing hospital-acquired infections and early elective deliveries,” said Mark Morgan, president of Anthem Blue Cross. “We have committed to funding this initiative for another year, and look forward to helping all Californians who walk through the door of a hospital avoid unnecessary health issues and costs.”


PSF is a statewide collaborative between the Hospital Council of Northern & Central California, the Hospital Association of Southern California, the Hospital Association of San Diego & Imperial Counties, Anthem Blue Cross, National Health Foundation and California hospitals.


The Eisenberg award recognizes major achievements for individuals and organizations in improving patient safety and health care quality. An award panel comprised of nationally recognized patient safety and health care quality experts identified by The Joint Commission and NQF evaluated award submissions and identified award recipients.


The collaborative’s mission is to improve quality and reduce health care costs across the state.  Since the inception of the collaborative in 2010, PSF member hospitals have shown significant improvement in four important hospital-based avoidable harm initiatives: sepsis mortality, ventilator associated pneumonia, central line blood stream infections and perinatal gestational age deliveries under 39 weeks. Dozens of hospitals consistently reported before and after data, and their results show:


  • 74 percent reduction in early elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks gestational age
  • 57 percent reduction in cases of ventilator associated pneumonia
  • 43 percent reduction in cases of central line blood stream infections
  • 26 percent reduction in sepsis mortality


“The fact that Anthem Blue Cross is only the third health plan to win an Eisenberg award is a testament to the program’s importance and accomplishments,” said Dr. Michael Belman, medical director at Anthem Blue Cross. “The first duty of medical professionals is to do no harm. Patient Safety First’s collaborative learning model to prevent hospital acquired infections and reduce early elective deliveries helps deliver on that promise with a large number of hospitals in California.”


The deaths and costs avoided were calculated by comparing all population data from 2012 to baseline data provided by the same hospitals in 2009.


With more than 180 hospitals participants between 2010 and 2013 and dozens of hospitals consistently reporting before and after data, PSF is the largest statewide collaborative effort focused on patient safety in the nation. Not only is Patient Safety First unique in its size and scale, but it is distinctive in that it brings together a health plan, hospital associations, a non-profit organization and private and public hospitals as partners in an effort to improve care, health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. The collaborative is open to both hospitals in and outside of Anthem’s network, and because the improvements are made at the hospital level, benefits are not exclusive to Anthem members.


To facilitate improvement within hospitals, Patient Safety First adopted components of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Breakthrough Series Collaborative Model for Achieving Breakthrough Improvement developed in 1995. This model is a validated learning system that brings together a large number of teams from hospitals or clinics to seek improvement in a focused topic area. Peer-to-peer learning occurs through multidisciplinary hospital teams, peer-to-peer networking and expert speakers. Hospital teams use the knowledge gained through Patient Safety First programs to implement best practices in their hospitals.


For a copy of the report, please visit


The patient safety awards program, launched in 2002 by NQF and The Joint Commission, honors John M. Eisenberg, M.D., M.B.A., former administrator of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).  Dr. Eisenberg was also a member of the founding Board of Directors of NQF.  In his roles both as AHRQ administrator and chair of the federal government’s Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force, he was a passionate advocate for patient safety and health care quality and personally led AHRQ’s grant program to support patient safety research. Other recipients of the Eisenberg Award are former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Donald Berwick (2006) and the Leapfrog Group (2003).


This is the second time that an Anthem health plan has won an Eisenberg award for patient safety. In 2008, Anthem’s affiliated health plan in Virginia was recognized for its development and implementation of performance-based reimbursement programs for Virginia hospitals, cardiologists and cardiac surgeons. These programs are known as the Quality-In-Sights®: Hospital Incentive Program (Q-HIP®) and Quality Physician Performance Program (Q-P3SM). Q-HIP and Q-P3 reward hospitals and physicians for practicing evidence-based medicine and implementing other nationally recognized best practices. By aligning hospital and physician goals, these unique programs foster collaborative efforts to improve care across the health care system. By using the metrics based on all-payer, non-administrative data, Q-HIP and Q-P3 endeavor to bring high quality care to all patients and communities.

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