Sebelius: Michigan Partnership Could be National Model for Health Reform

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , July 13, 2009

The infection control partnership between Johns Hopkins University and the Michigan Health & Hospital Association is getting praise from federal officials, who are calling the program a "success story" and a national model for healthcare reform.

The Michigan Keystone ICU Project has reduced healthcare-associated infections in Michigan, saving more than 1,500 lives and $200 million in 18 months. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says Michigan Keystone ICU Project will serve as the first in a series of periodic "success story" reports that federal officials will issue to identify healthcare reform models from across the nation that are worth emulating.

"We know there are tremendous examples of efficient, high-quality healthcare in America today. Our challenge is spreading these good examples across the country," Sebelius says. "Our reports will showcase success stories like the Michigan Keystone ICU Project and highlight how health reform can improve the quality of care for all Americans."

Medical errors, including healthcare-associated infections, kill nearly 100,000 patients in America every year and patient safety measures have worsened by nearly 1% each year for the past decade. The Michigan Keystone ICU Project pushed patient safety in more than 100 ICUs in Michigan. The project targeted catheter-related bloodstream infections and worked to ensure clinicians used a simple checklist when inserting catheters into ICU patients.

Following the checklist, there was a 66% reduction in these infections throughout Michigan, saving more than 1,500 lives and $200 million in the first 18 months. The project was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and for every dollar invested, about $200 was saved.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act earmarks $50 million in grants for states to help fight HAI. Sebelius wants hospitals to reduce central line-associated blood stream infections in ICUs by 75% over the next three years by using the Michigan checklist.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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