CHA News Article

Berwick Urges Hospitals to Accelerate Patient Safety

Renowned health care visionary Don Berwick, MD, MPP, urged 450 California hospital leaders May 17 to accelerate their work in improving the quality and safety of care delivered to patients. The former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and founder of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement spoke May 17 to leaders at quality improvement forums held in Walnut Creek and Newport Beach. 

Berwick commended California hospitals for their work and said America will look to California for ways to change health care for the better. “Leadership has never been more important to show how quality improvement and patient safety at full scale is within reach and how this improvement is key to health care affordability.”

“Politics and policy matter, but can’t alone bring a ship into port.” Providers and leaders at the community level have the power to effect change, he emphasized. “Leaders can either nurture or extinguish efforts,” particularly in the area of creating a safe culture in which to share and learn from what went wrong and why. Accelerating change, he said, requires unprecedented teamwork and the belief that improvement is an ethical duty. “It’s not enough to just do no harm. We must accomplish contributions to the greater good,” that achieve safety, effectiveness, patient-centeredness, timeliness, efficiency and equity.

“Dr. Berwick is the leading advocate for high-quality health care in the United States,” said CHA President/CEO C. Duane Dauner. “The large turnout by hospital leaders to hear Dr. Berwick indicates the high regard in which he is held, and the seriousness of the efforts being made by hospitals across the state to improve the safety and quality of care provided to patients.”

During his talks, Berwick urged all hospital leaders to take “the next step” in their quality improvement work by participating in a new federally funded initiative known as the Hospital Engagement Network. The purpose of the network is to reduce inpatient harm by 40 percent and hospital readmissions by 20 percent by the end of 2013.

To date, nearly 200 hospitals in California have joined the California Hospital Engagement Network, which builds on and accelerates the quality improvement and patient safety work already underway in hospitals across the state. Participating hospitals will focus on 10 specific clinical areas in order to reduce hospital-acquired infections and medical errors within the next 18 months.

The patient safety forums and implementation of the California Hospital Engagement Network are just the latest in a series of efforts by CHA and the Regional Associations to improve the quality of care provided to patients.  

The forums were co-sponsored by CHA, the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California, Hospital Association of Southern California, Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties and California Hospital Patient Safety Organization. John Muir Health in Walnut Creek and the UCLA Health System in Los Angeles provided substantial support for the events.

(From left) Cal Knight, president/CEO, John Muir Health; Don Berwick, MD, former CMS administrator; and C. Duane Dauner, CHA president/CEO, participate in Accelerate Change Today event.
Kim Pardini-Kiely, vice president, quality & effectiveness, Stanford Hospital & Clinics, joins Don Berwick, MD, on stage for the panel discussion.
John Muir Health President/CEO Cal Knight introduces keynote speaker Don Berwick, MD. John Muir Health sponsored and hosted the Walnut Creek event.
Panelists (from left) are Douglas Lafferty, CEO, Plumas District Hospital; Anna Roth, CEO, Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and Health Centers; Tom Rundall, member, John Muir Health Board of Directors, and Henry J. Kaiser emeritus professor of organized health systems, University of California, Berkeley; Kim Pardini-Kiely, vice president, quality & effectiveness, Stanford Hospital & Clinics; and Don Berwick, MD, former CMS administrator.
Accelerate Change Today participants from numerous Northern California hospitals gather at John Muir Health in Walnut Creek.
Panel participants at the Newport Beach program include (from left) Don Berwick, MD; Allyson Brooks, MD, board member, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, and executive medical director, Women’s Health Institute;  Kathy Harren, RN, MHA, MSNc, regional director, Nursing Institute, Providence Southern California; David Green, CEO,  El Centro Regional Medical Center; Helen Macfie, PharmD, senior vice president, performance improvement & strategic planning, MemorialCare Health System; and David Perrott, CHA senior vice president/chief medical officer.