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Kaiser Permanente Northern California Honored by URAC for Advancing Patient Safety

Leading national health-care quality and patient safety advocate recognizes Kaiser Permanente for its regionwide approach to curbing bacterial infection

October 7, 2013



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OAKLAND, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente Northern California has been awarded Platinum Honors for Health Care Consumer Engagement and Protection by URAC, one of the nation’s leading health-care accreditation organizations and an important advocate for health-care quality and patient safety.

The honor, the highest awarded by URAC (formerly known as the Utilization Review Accreditation Commission), was announced during the organization’s Annual Quality Summit earlier this month in Washington, D.C. This award recognizes the achievements of organizations that are effectively advancing the role of consumers as active participants in health care through health-improvement best practices.

Kaiser Permanente Northern California was honored for its systemwide program to reduce hospital-acquired clostridium difficile infection, a common and pressing patient-safety concern in U.S. hospitals.

“This award reinforces Kaiser Permanente’s role as a national leader in patient safety,” said Barbara Crawford, vice president for quality and regulatory services, Kaiser Permanente Northern California. “This program, which has been rolled out throughout our 21 hospitals by our dedicated physicians and staff, has resulted in a measurable improvement in patient safety and care. Best of all, it’s a program that can be adopted by others, and the strategy and tactics we have created and refined are a model that can be duplicated in hospitals anywhere.”

Clostridium difficile infection is the major cause of health-care associated infection in the U.S. Over the past decade, the annual number of cases has doubled and mortality has quadrupled.

In 2009, Kaiser Permanente Northern California put together a team to devise a strategy to reduce infection, and in 2010 rolled out the program in all of its hospitals. The program has five major components — standardized hospital room cleaning and disinfection protocols, immediate isolation of infected patients and precaution to prevent spread of the bacteria by contact, effective hand-hygiene protocols, proactive stewardship of antimicrobial medications, and reduction in usage of acid-suppressing gastric medication.

Since 2010, Kaiser Permanente Northern California has reduced the incidence of clostridium difficile infection by 62 percent, prevented more than 2,855 cases and 485 deaths, and reduced hospital stays by 28,551 patient days.

Entries in URAC’s awards competition were judged by a panel of independent judges, including recognized experts in program evaluation, care coordination, health information technology, employer and purchaser decision making, and patient safety. Entries were reviewed and scored by the judges based on objective criteria, including whether the program was measurable, if it was reproducible and delivered through a collaborative approach.

“URAC’s Best Practices awards program is a unique celebration of innovative health-care management programs. These organizations have implemented leading programs that have made a difference in the lives of the consumers they serve with demonstrable results that matter,” said Kylanne Green, president and CEO of URAC. “This year’s winners are recognized for their leadership in delivering on the promise of a quality health-care system that puts consumers first.”

URAC is a national accreditation leader, offering more than 30 highly regarded accreditation programs that span the health-care spectrum. Its programs are created and updated by independent industry experts to address the latest market trends and needs. URAC’s accreditation programs are formally recognized by six federal agencies, as well as 48 states and the District of Columbia. For more information, visit www.urac.org.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 9.1 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.