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Check out Patient Safety Monitor Blog

If you’re reading this blog, you probably use many blogs to stay up-to-date with industry news. To that end, I’d like to let you know about a sister blog that HCPro has recently launched, called the Patient Safety Monitor blog.

This blog will provide news and updates of patient safety regulations and information on a daily basis. Topics include patient safety-related regulations from individual U.S. states, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, The Joint Commission, and other news and information from organizations such as The Leapfrog Group and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. The blog also provides a another forum for you, the readers, to share your opinion and expertise by posting comments.

I truly think this will be another great resource for the AHAP community and hope you’ll visit the site!

Price drops for hotel rooms at AHAP conference

Hey blog readers,

Just wanted to give you a heads up that for those of you interested in going (or already signed up for) the 3rd Annual AHAP Conference taking place May14-15 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, the price of staying at Caesar’s has dropped from $239 to $199 per night. This is available if you mention you are attending the AHAP conference when booking your room, and the rate is only good if you sign up by March 13, 2009. If you need any more information about the conference, please click here, or visit the AHAP homepage.

Thanks, hope to see you there!

Pennsylvania study targets HAIs

I just came across this really intriguing study while putting together the upcoming issue of Accreditation Connection and I thought, with healthcare-acquired infections such a hot button issue of late, it might be of interest to AHAP members. Here’s a clip from the article:

Infections acquired during a hospital visit frequently result in a significant increase in the overall cost of care, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

A recent report by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council has found that the average bill for a patient who acquires an infection during their hospital visit was roughly five and a half times the amount billed to those who did not acquire an infection. The report also found that nearly 28,000 patients contracted a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) during a hospital visit in 2007.

While HAI numbers were down from 2006 by almost eight percent, patients with HAIs were six times more likely to die, according to the report.

The full report is available online here. The full Inquirer article is available here.

By the way, Accreditation Connection is a free weekly email newsletter. If you don’t already receive it and would like to sign up, feel free to email me at and I can make sure you’re on the list.

APIC releases goals for “Targeting Zero” in 2009

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology released their goals for 2009 concerning their Targeting Zero initiativetoday . The details can be found here, but they plan to release elimination guides for ventilator-associated pneumonia, catheter-associated bloodstream infections, MRSA in long-term care settings, and Acinetobacter baumannii.

You may recall APIC’s groundbreaking MRSA Prevalance study released in 2007 that was one of the first studies to show how rampant MRSA is in our hospitals and healthcare system. Since that time, multiple drug resistant organisms have been a focal point for both The Joint Commission (prevention of MDROs recently became part of National Patient Safety Goal # 7, and CMS added prevention of healthcare acquired infections to their no-pay conditions).

So, what are your facilities doing specifically to target the prevention of MRSA spread? Any creative programs?

Immediate Threat to Life issues

Hello, everyone. I just wanted to mention that two fantastic speakers (and frequent contributors to Briefings on The Joint Commission) will be discussing preliminary denial of accreditation and Immediate Threat to Life situations in a few weeks. Brad Keyes, CSHP, and Jennifer Cowel, RN, MSHA, will be providing real life examples and identifying key ways to avoid preliminary denial of accreditation.

If you click here, you’ll find an audio clip in which Brad talks about some of the highlights of the show. It’s an interesting little snippet of the overall presentation and I thought it might be of interest to you.

CMS posts listening session

Hello, everyone. Something of interest from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: CMS has posted the audiofile from its December 18th listening session, Hospital-Acquired Conditions and Hospital Outpatient Healthcare-Associated Conditions. The file is located on its Hospital-Acquired Conditions (HAC) & Present on Admission (POA) Indicator Reporting web site and can be downloaded here.

Pat Pejakovich and Connie Steed will be presenting an audioconference on HAIs on March 23rd that may be of interest to you. More details are available here.

Kentucky organizations work to fight MRSA

Hello, everyone. I just wanted to pass along a news brief published today in Accreditation Connection about a pair of initiatives in Kentucky, including a MRSA-prevention program. We’ll be talking with some of the folks involved in building the program in the upcoming issue of Briefings on The Joint Commission–it’s an interesting endeavor and I’ll post a preview of the article exclusive to the AHAP Blog very soon.

Two new initiatives with very different approaches have targeted hospital-associated infections in Kentucky, the Courier-Journal reports.

Currently, legislation before the Kentucky General Assembly calls for screening for infections, as well as better control of infections resistant to antibiotics. The bill (House Bill 67) also calls for public reporting of infection rates.

Meanwhile, a collaborative created by the Kentucky Hospital Association and other organizations, targets methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The collaborative has designed a toolkit with guidelines, sample policies, and other tools for MRSA prevention.

For more information, click here.

WHO study shows surgical checklists reduce error risk

As many of you may have seen by now, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study on January 14 showing that the use of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) surgical checklist reduce the risk of surgical error by 36% when used correctly. The AHAP blog had a posting on this topic a few weeks ago as part of the update from the IHI conference. Dr. Atul Gawande, the lead author on the study, presented on the topic and assured attendees that they would be astounded by the results when published.

Although the WHO’s checklist differs from what The Joint Commission requires as part of compliance with the Universal ProtocolTM, this  study shows that any way to incorporate clear, basic communication into patient safety will produce better patient outcomes.

Are your hospitals using this checklist? Has there been any talk of incorporating it into your OR practices?

To find out more about the WHO’s checklist, click here.

To read the article in the New England Journal of Medicine, click here.

The 3rd Annual AHAP Conference, taking place May 14-15, 2009 in Las Vegas, is featuring a session about the changes made to the 2009 National Patient Safety Goals, and part of that session will cover the updates to the 2009 Universal Protocol.

Something is… different around here

Yes, the AHAP Blog has received a makeover, and we’re really excited about the changes. Our new format is meant to be easier on the eyes, with lots of new options and features  we hope you enjoy. Here are just a few highlights:

  • It’s easier to share. Clicking on an individual post allows you to pass the entry along to  friends and colleagues through e-mail or by linking it to another site.
  • Get AHAP Blog notifications sent to your email. In the right-hand column, you’ll find the option to subscribe to the blog to give you an update of the latest news and discussions.
  • Know what the hot topics are. The “tag cloud” on the lower right will show you which topics are the most common topics being discussed.

If you have any questions about the new and improved AHAP Blog, or want to pass along any comments about our new set-up, please e-mail me.

Joint Commission appoints new member of the leadership team

Hello, Everyone. Just wanted to mention the latest Joint Commission news: The Joint Commission has announced Mark G. Pelletier, RN, MS, as the organization’s new executive director of Hospital Programs and Accreditation and Certification Services.

Pelletier brings more than 20 years of experience as a healthcare executive, most recently with Condell Medical Center, Libertyville, IL, where he was senior vice president and chief operating officer.

In his role with The Joint Commission, Pelletier will oversee the hospital and critical access hospital accreditation programs, as well as act as director for customer accounts for all accreditation programs, among other responsibilities.

To view the official Joint Commission press release, click here.