RALEIGH, N.C.— The state’s largest health insurer today announced it is joining forces with the state’s hospitals to help them reach their goal of becoming the safest in the nation over the next four years. The initiative seeks to reduce medical errors that result in costly complications and, in some cases, even death.
The announcement was made today at a joint news conference hosted by WakeMed Health & Hospitals. It included participants from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC), the North Carolina Hospital Association (NCHA) and the North Carolina Center for Hospital Quality and Patient Safety.
BCBSNC is providing resources to enhance the effort of more than 100 North Carolina hospitals to implement nationally recognized quality improvement measures. The measures are outlined by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). The IHI’s 100,000 Lives Campaign set the challenging goal of June 2006 by which to save 100,000 patients nationwide from fatal medical errors.
"As the state’s largest health insurer, we take seriously our responsibility to be a leader on patient safety and quality issues," said Bob Greczyn, BCBSNC president and CEO. "Already more than 100 hospitals across the state have voluntarily chosen to implement the national safety guidelines. We’re proud to stand with our state’s hospitals on this issue that touches every North Carolinian."
NCHA was the first state hospital association to link with the IHI to help reach the 100,000 lives goal. With the creation of the North Carolina Center for Hospital Quality and Patient Safety, NCHA is helping hospitals implement measures that include the creation of rapid response teams (RRTs) in hospitals. RRTs are specialty teams that mobilize to assess a patient at the first sign of decline; avoiding "code blue" alerts and saving lives. Other interventions include the early administration of key measures proven effective in preventing heart attacks and new strategies to prevent central line and surgical site infections.
"The push to improve overall quality and patient safety is the most important initiative in hospitals today," said Dr. Bill Atkinson, president and CEO of WakeMed Health & Hospitals and chairman of the North Carolina Center for Patient Safety and Hospital Quality. "North Carolina has already taken a leadership role in implementing cutting–edge patient safety initiatives. The BCBSNC donation will help hospitals statewide take patient safety to the next level. The result will be good for hospitals, health care providers and especially patients in North Carolina."
The North Carolina Center for Hospital Quality and Patient Safety’s goal is to help North Carolina hospitals become the safest in the country by 2010. BCBSNC’s $3 million contribution will help the center hire staff and develop educational and training workshops for hospital physicians and health care clinicians.
"The North Carolina Center for Hospital Quality and Patient Safety’s mission is to make North Carolina hospitals the safest and highest quality hospitals in the nation by changing the way we provide care," said Dr. Carol Koeble, director of the North Carolina Center for Hospital Quality and Patient Safety. "Although we feel like the Center has received a tremendous gift, it is patients that have truly received this gift. This funding will help lead North Carolina hospitals in providing the right care for the right patient at the right time –– care that is safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient and equitable."
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.3 million members, including approximately 638,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 72 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Access BCBSNC online at bcbsnc.com.
About the North Carolina Hospital Association:
NCHA is the statewide trade association serving North Carolina’s hospitals and health systems. The association represents 133 hospitals and provides advocacy, information and education for its members.