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Press Release

Region's Hospitals Engage in New Patient-Safety Efforts

Partnership for Patient Care launches fourth-year program

Philadelphia, PA - February 5, 2009 - The Partnership for Patient Care, a quality and patient safety effort led by southeastern Pennsylvania hospitals and one of the region's largest health care insurers, Independence Blue Cross, announces its new initiatives for 2009-2011 today at a conference at the College of Physicians here. Approximately 150 hospital executives and quality experts attending the meeting will be introduced to the concepts of "high reliability" health care — a data-driven, behavioral-focused approach to patient care that rigorously analyzes hospitals to identify areas of weakness or vulnerability in safety performance. Hospitals later receive recommendations, training and education about how to make their environment and practices safer. Similar techniques have been successfully used by the nuclear power and aviation industries to ensure the highest possible safety conditions.

Featured speakers at today's conference will include "high reliability" health care experts Craig Clapper and Carole Stockmeier, partners at Healthcare Performance Improvement, a nationally prominent consulting firm, which will lead area hospitals in their diagnostic assessments.

The conference will also include highlights from the Partnership for Patient Care's 2008 initiatives, which include eliminating serious surgical errors; preventing pressure ulcers; and continuing to raise awareness about methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections through the Fight MRSA! Alliance.

The Partnership for Patient Care is overseen by The Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF), a nonprofit organization that supports innovative efforts to improve health services and promote best practices and patient safety in the Delaware Valley. Since the Partnership was launched in 2005, nearly every area hospital in the Philadelphia region has participated in at least one of the Partnership's initiatives, including efforts to reduce health care-acquired infections and prevent bloodstream and surgical site infections, patient falls, and life-threatening blood clots that can develop during hospitalization.

In October 2008, Independence Blue Cross announced that it was extending its support for the Partnership with funding of $3 million through 2011.

"Hospitals participating in the Partnership for Patient Care have worked very hard to reduce dangerous infections and are now seeing the positive impacts of their efforts: safer conditions for millions of people in hospitals throughout the Delaware Valley," said Kate Flynn, president of HCIF.

"For example, it's no coincidence that recent results from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council showed impressive improvements in reducing health care-acquired infections for the state and region, and nearly a 50 percent decrease in mortality rates for patients with surgical site infections — both safety improvement projects the Partnership undertook," said Flynn.

"We are proud to have been the co-founder of the Partnership for Patient Care," said Joseph A. Frick, president and chief executive officer of Independence Blue Cross. "We're pleased with the strong results we've seen from partnering with hospitals and health care organizations to create progressive approaches to addressing critical patient-safety issues. Together we're reaching our goal - making health care safer in our region."

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in Southeastern Pennsylvania. IBC and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.4 million people. For more than 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.

About the Health Care Improvement Foundation

The Health Care Improvement Foundation is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting innovative efforts to improve health services and enhance public trust and confidence in the region's healthcare delivery system through the promotion of best practices in community health and patient safety in the Delaware Valley.