HHS-CMS Team Receives Highest Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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CMS' National Hospital-Acquired Condition and Readmission Reduction Team
CMS' National Hospital-Acquired Condition and Readmission Reduction Team

Last month, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), honored the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) National Hospital-Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Team for its work in reducing patient harm and readmissions in hospitals across the United States. CMS’ cross-agency and cross-department team, which included several executives from CMS’ Center for Clinical Standards and Quality (CCSQ), was presented with the Secretary's Award for Distinguished Service, the highest internal award issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), at the 2014 HHS Departmental Awards Ceremony on November 172015.

The team accepted the award on behalf of the highly effective work of Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs), Hospital Engagement Networks (HENs), and millions of caregivers, partners, patients and others who work to make care safer and to reduce unnecessary readmissions. Team members expressed gratitude for the hard work and commitment of all those who contributed to its life-saving and life-enhancing results.

The National HAC Reduction Team’s work began in 2011 with the kick-off of an intensive, all-inclusive effort, mobilizing and aligning federal programs, private partners and actively engaged patients and family members over a four-year period. The team contributed to the reduction of HACs by 17% and spearheaded efforts that led to an estimated 1.3 million fewer patient harms, 50,000 lives saved and $12 billion in health savings.

Through the team’s effective implementation of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, along with strong commitment and leadership, CMS reported a dramatic reduction in the number of Medicare 30-day readmissions, which was maintained between 2012 and 2014.

Among other activities, team members helped develop 27 HENs as part of the Partnership for Patients initiative; assisted with the QIN-QIOs’ efforts to reduce readmissions and hospital infections; and launched the Community-Based Care Transitions Program.

At the November awards ceremony, HHS recognized additional organizations within CMS for their work to improve the state of health care within the United States. The CMS Marketplace Enrollment Team also received the Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service, and CMS’ Medicare Prospective Payment Team received the Secretary’s Award for Meritorious Service.