The Obama administration said Tuesday that medical conditions acquired at U.S. hospitals declined by 9 percent from 2012 to 2013 for an “unprecedented” three-year drop of 17 percent.
Officials said there were 1.3 million fewer hospital-induced conditions from 2010 to 2013 — a major drop in things like ulcers, central-line blood infections, adverse drug reactions, falls or catheter-related urinary tract infections.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said the 17-percent reduction is a “very significant number” that translated into $12 billion in savings for patients and medical providers.
“It represents historic progress on health care quality. It represents healthier patients and health care dollars being spent more wisely,” she said in remarks as prepared for delivery to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’s Quality Conference in Baltimore.
Officials said the drop in hospital errors cannot be fully understood, yet it coincided with efforts to tie Medicare payments to safety performance, partnerships that established goals for patient safety and the health care law’s emphasis on quality — instead of quantity — of care.