Carolinas HealthCare System
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Carolinas HealthCare System Recognized by NC Hospital Association for Quality and Patient Safety Gains
NCHA Award

Carolinas HealthCare System CEO, Michael C. Tarwater, was honored by the North Carolina Hospital Association (NCHA) as a champion for healthcare quality and patient safety. Phyllis Wingate, President of Carolinas Medical Center NorthEast, accepted the award on his behalf from NCHA President, Bill Pully, and outgoing NCHA Board Chair, Bill Paugh.

Carolinas HealthCare System was recently honored by the North Carolina Hospital Association (NCHA) for its commitment to quality improvement and patient safety as part of a three-year national initiative sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The System was part of CMS’ Partnership for Patients’ Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) initiative, aimed at reducing hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent and readmissions by 20 percent by December 2014. With support from the national HEN, Carolinas HealthCare System prevented nearly 7,900 potential harm events, equal to $48 million savings in related care costs, between 2012 and 2014.

“Our achievements are the result of the innovative, patient-centered work of our hospitals and the collaboration among participating organizations,” said Michael C. Tarwater, CEO for Carolinas HealthCare System, who was acknowledged with an achievement award during the NCHA’s annual Winter Meeting in February. “And while the metrics are how we measure our success, behind each number is a patient whose care was improved by these efforts. We will continue to excel in these areas as part of our commitment to our patients.”

Tarwater was one of four CEOs from the HEN organizations in North Carolina awarded for their contributions: Carolinas HealthCare System, Premier, Lifepoint Hospitals, Inc., and NoCVA (a joint HEN between North Carolina and Virginia).

Carolinas HealthCare System in 2013 received an additional 15-month contract by CMS called Leading Edge Advanced Practice Topics (LEAPT). Through LEAPT, eight System hospitals tested solutions to complex healthcare topics focused on reducing: injury or death from severe sepsis and septic shock, antibiotic resistance, readmissions among patients with co-morbidities and surgical complications.

Through the System’s Code Sepsis program, mortality rates among high-risk patients has decreased from 35 percent to less than 15 percent since October 2013. These patients also spent 1.5 fewer days in the hospital from June-October 2014. An advanced illness management (AIM) program was created to help patients better understand their conditions, symptoms, diets and medications, equipping them with resources to better manage their health. AIM has helped an initial group of 115 patients lower their total number of hospital and emergency department visits from 186 to 77 in six months – a 59 percent reduction.

In a preliminary report, the Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimated that the Partnership for Patients’ HEN initiative helped save $4 billion in patient harm and readmissions and helped avert more than 15,000 deaths in 2011 and 2012. CMS recently announced the launch of a second round of Hospital Engagement Network contracts to continue the work of reducing preventable hospital-acquired conditions and readmissions.