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Quality and Patient Safety

The FAH is committed to helping our members deliver the highest quality of care to every single patient who walks through their doors. The FAH supports its member’s quality work through review, evaluation and analysis of legislative and regulatory proposals that address patient safety, requirements for federal government safety standards, federal conditions of participation required to meet the federal government safety standards, and value of care provided to patients. The FAH focuses on public policies addressing safety and quality of care for:

  • Acute care community hospitals
  • Long-term acute care hospitals
  • Inpatient rehabilitation hospitals
  • Inpatient psychiatric hospitals
  • Teaching hospitals
  • Rural hospitals

Hospital Quality Measurement and Improvement

Measurement of and improvement in the quality of care are central to ensuring all hospitals deliver the highest quality patient care.

Coalitions

The FAH works through a variety of multi-stakeholder coalitions, such as the National Quality Forum (NQF) and its Measure Applications Partnership, to ensure the scientific soundness of the tools used to measure the quality of care provided to our nation’s patients. Sound quality measurement is also an integral foundational element supporting health care delivery system and payment reform. The voices of all stakeholders are important in informing the selection of which quality issues should be measured and publicly reported first and what information is most valuable to patients and the providers of patient care.

Federal Standards

Hospital quality and patient safety are also supported through tireless adherence to federal standards, which encompass everything from maintenance of the actual physical structure of the hospital, to the training and professionalism of hospital personnel. This is accomplished through meeting federal standards known as the "Conditions of Participation" or "Conditions for Coverage." The FAH works with its members to ensure the standards reflect the latest science and best practices for everything from operation of the hospital clinical laboratory and testing facilities, and cleaning patient rooms to basic safety procedures such as handwashing and safe medication management.

Individual Programs & Initiatives

Hospitals also engage in national initiatives and individual hospital-based programs aimed at improving patient care and healing and reducing the possibility of an adverse event. By participating in local and national coalitions, hospitals can focus on patient needs and preferences, and provide safe care in all health care environments. Hospitals value patient feedback, and will use that information to improve the care they deliver.

Fostering high quality, safe patient care requires the FAH and its members to interact with a number of state and federal agencies including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its agencies:

  • the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • the Assistant Secretary for Emergency Preparedness

The FAH also works with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Public Reporting of Quality

For more than a decade, hospitals have publicly reported their quality performance on a predetermined set of quality measures. Information for specific hospitals can be found on the Department of Health and Human Services official website called Hospital Compare. Hospitals' quality performance also is factored into the payments they receive from Medicare for care provided to America’s senior citizens. Six percent of a hospital’s Medicare payments are at risk depending on the quality of care they provide to patients.

Hospitals currently report data on quality measures addressing improvement in processes for delivering care, improvement in infection and complication rates, resources used to provide care, patient experience of care, and outcomes of care provided. The FAH works closely with CMS, CDC, consumers, researchers and other hospitals to ensure the accuracy and usability of the publicly reported data.