In a commentary published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlight a decline in certain patient safety indicators during the COVID-19 pandemic and call for a renewed focus on patient safety going forward.

In a statement today, AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said, “More than two years into an unprecedented worldwide pandemic, America’s hospitals and health systems, and our caregivers, remain more dedicated than ever to patient safety and delivering the highest quality of care to all. Our field has made many important gains over the last decade in improving care quality and has been transparent about sharing our progress. 

“Last September, CDC published data showing decline in hospitals’ progress in reducing health care associated infections, such as central line associated blood stream infections (CLABSI), catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). This unprecedented virus put incredible stress on hospitals and clearly impeded some efforts to sustain hard-fought gains in making care better and safer. However, hospitals commitment to improving safety is steadfast. 

“This Call to Action from CMS and CDC demonstrates that their commitment to patient safety is also unwavering. We agree that there are opportunities to create more durable safety improvement strategies, enhance ‘just in time training’ for staff called upon to perform tasks for patients with different needs than those for whom they typically provide care, and innovate to ensure hospitals have strong and diversely skilled teams available to care for all who require care, even during a national emergency.  
 
“We view this Call to Action as an opportunity to work collaboratively with CMS and CDC and other committed organizations to gain valuable insights and build more resiliency into our patient safety efforts.”
 

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