Senior Connection

Apr 27, 2011

Partnership for Patients: Better Care, Lower Costs

Doctors, nurses and other health care providers in America work incredibly hard to deliver the best care possible to their patients. Unfortunately, an alarming number of patients are harmed by medical mistakes in the health care system and far too many die prematurely as a result.

The Obama Administration has launched the Partnership for Patients: Better Care, Lower Costs, a new public-private partnership that will help improve the quality, safety, and affordability of health care for all Americans. The Partnership for Patients brings together leaders of major hospitals, employers, physicians, nurses, and patient advocates along with state and federal governments in a shared effort to make hospital care safer, more reliable, and less costly.

The two goals of this new partnership are to:

  • Keep patients from getting injured or sicker. By the end of 2013, preventable hospital-acquired conditions would decrease by 40% compared to 2010. Achieving this goal would mean approximately 1.8 million fewer injuries to patients with more than 60,000 lives saved over three years.
  • Help patients heal without complication. By the end of 2013, preventable complications during a transition from one care setting to another would be decreased so that all hospital readmissions would be reduced by 20% compared to 2010. Achieving this goal would mean more than 1.6 million patients would recover from illness without suffering a preventable complication requiring re-hospitalization within 30 days of discharge.

Achieving these goals will save lives and prevent injuries to millions of Americans, and has the potential to save up to $35 billion dollars across the health care system, including up to $10 billion in Medicare savings, over the next three years. Over the next ten years, it could reduce costs to Medicare by about $50 billion and result in billions more in Medicaid savings. This will help put our nation on the path toward a more sustainable health care system.

Building on Local and National Work to Improve Patient Safety

In 1999, the landmark Institute of Medicine study, “To Err is Human,” estimated that as many as 98,000 Americans die every year from preventable medical errors. Despite many successful efforts, this statistic has not improved much in the following decade. And many more patients get injured or sicker from preventable adverse events after being admitted to a hospital. After more than a decade of work to understand and address these problems, promising examples of better practices exist, but patients too often are still injured in the course of receiving care. There is much more work to be done to prevent unnecessary harm to patients.

  • At any given time, about one in every 20 patients has an infection related to their hospital care.
  • On average, one in seven Medicare beneficiaries is harmed in the course of their care, costing the government an estimated $4.4 billion every year.
  • Nearly one in five Medicare patients discharged from the hospital is readmitted within 30 days – that’s approximately 2.6 million seniors at a cost of over $26 billion every year.

Apr 12, 2011

Consensus Recommendations for the 2011 Older Americans Act Reauthorization

General Recommendations

  • Raise or increase the authorized funding for all titles of the OAA. Additionally, any new programs added to the Act should be given specific authorization levels. With the population of older individuals expected to grow exponentially in the coming years, the Aging Network faces incredible challenges associated with the influx of older individuals into OAA programs. The scope of the OAA is vast and expanding to cover additional populations while the investment in its mission has been severely, and consistently, underfunded.

  • The Aging Network should be considered the focal point for aging related matters at all levels of government. Amend the OAA to explicitly recognize the principal role that State Agencies on Aging have in planning for the social and physical needs of older adults at the state level, and Area Agencies on Aging at the local level.

  • Where possible in the OAA, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults should be included as a vulnerable population with greatest social need as a result of a lifetime of bigotry, stigma and discrimination.

  • The underserved, vulnerable communities of all racial and ethnic groups, as well as, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults should be explicitly addressed in the OAA in ways that account for their unique family structures and collective experiences. Terms such as “adult care,” “family,” “family caregiver,” “spouse,” “underserved area,” “vulnerable elder,” and “family violence” should be defined to account for the variety of family and care structures of all racial and ethnic communities, and LGBT communities, which include partners and families of choices, as well as spouses and biological families.

  • Where appropriate and practical in the OAA, data collection, project assessments and reporting requirements should ensure that racial groups, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender older adults, are studied and appropriately served.

If you would like to read the entire Consensus Recommendations for the 2011 Older Americans Act Reauthorization, Please Click Here!


To Enhance The Quality Of Life For Area Seniors And Their Caregivers, The Central Massachusetts Agency On Aging Will Provide Leadership, Information And Resources, Coordination Of Services And Advocacy.