Brown Joins Ohio Hospital Association to Announce $190K in Federal Funds to Launch New Initiative at Ohio Patient Safety Institute

In Midst of Health Care Reform Debate, Senator Cites Ohio Patient Safety Institute’s Work as Cost-Saving Measures that Improve Outcomes

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined the Ohio Hospital Association today to announce $190,000 in federal funds that will launch a new initiative at the Ohio Patient Safety Institute (OPSI)

“This is about improving patient care and reducing health care costs,” Brown said of the project. “As one of the 10 states participating in the Patient Safety Initiative, Ohio hospitals will employ new measures that save lives and reduce medical costs. By returning to the basics and arming physicians and nurses with checklists for routine procedures, we can improve medical care. As we embark upon major health care reform, it is critical that we start by implementing common-sense, straightforward measures that save lives and reduce costs.”

Brown secured the funding for OPSI through the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 (H.R. 1105). The funds will launch a “Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program” (CUSP) to reduce bloodstream infection acquired at hospitals.

More than five million people are treated each year in U.S. hospital intensive care units (ICUs). Care delivered in ICUs costs about $180 billion a year, which represents 30 percent of total annual acute care spending. Improving the delivery of care and reducing medical errors in ICUs can improve patient outcomes and improve financial performance. These funds will support research and “best practice” interventions to ensure better ICU care at lower costs. In a similar project, Michigan estimates that more than 1,729 lives were saved at a cost savings of $246,638,054.

Brown, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, discussed how the Ohio Patient Safety Institute and similar initiatives will play an important role in health care reform. Leaders from the Ohio Hospital Association and OPSI outlined how CUSP will promote health cost savings and improve patient outcomes.

Last week, U.S. Senate Democrats on the HELP committee introduced The Affordable Health Choices Act as part of Congressional efforts to improve the nation’s health care system.

The Affordable Health Choices Act includes the following five major elements:

• Guarantees choice of plan for consumers while affording consumers new, more affordable options;
• Reduces health care costs through market competition, stronger prevention, better quality of care, and steps to root out fraud and abuse;
• Strengthens prevention and wellness programs for millions of Americans;
• Modernizes the health system by investing in training for medical professionals and by better coordinating patient care;
• Improves long term care and services for elderly and disabled Americans.

Brown is a leading advocate for including a public health insurance option in comprehensive health care reform. Last month, Brown introduced a resolution cosponsored by 28 other senators calling for the inclusion of an affordable, federally backed insurance pool in any efforts to reform our health care system. More information about Brown’s resolution, which states that the choice of a public health insurance option would introduce competition in the health insurance market and help reduce health care costs, can be found here.

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