On April 12, 2011, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and CMS Administrator Donald Berwick announced the formation of the “Partnership for Patients” initiative, which will bring together the federal and state governments, major hospitals, employers, health plans, physicians, and clinicians to reduce medical errors as well as the cost of care through a public-private partnership.

Secretary Sebelius said in a press release accompanying the announcement of the initiative, "Working closely with hospitals, doctors, nurses, patients, families, and employers, we will support efforts to help keep patients safe, improve care, and reduce costs." The objective of the Partnership is to improve health outcomes by reducing instances of preventable, hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent and by reducing the number of hospital readmissions by 20 percent within three years. CMS estimates that the Partnership could save 60,000 lives and save as much as $35 billion for the healthcare system, including $10 billion in Medicare savings by 2013.

To support the Partnership, HHS announced $1 billion in federal funding to be made available under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The new Community-based Care Transition Program at the CMS Innovation Center, discussed in more detail in the article below, will provide $500 million in funding to community-based organizations that partner with eligible hospitals for certain care transition services. Applications for Partnership funds may be made by eligible community-based organizations and acute care hospitals that partner with community-based organizations. Funding awards will be made on an ongoing basis by CMS. Interested applicants should visit the CMS Medicare Demonstrations website, here, for more information regarding eligibility requirements and application materials.

Additionally, CMS will dedicate up to $500 million in funding though its Innovation Center to test different models of improving patient care and collaboration in order to reduce hospital-acquired conditions, including the prevention of adverse drug reactions, pressure ulcers, childbirth complications, and surgical site infections. The goal of the Innovation Center initiative is to help hospitals adopt evidence-based care improvements on a local level and then share these approaches among public and private partners across the country.

For more information about "Partnership for Patients", click here. For a fact sheet about the initiative, click here