Safest Hospital Articles
"Safest Hospital Initiative
to Save Lives, Cut Costs", © Pharmahorizons Inc., May 2007
the nation's leading hospital systems on Thursday
announced a plan to combat the growing epidemic of medical
errors in hospitals by developing the first comprehensive
approach to patient safety. The Safest Hospital Alliance,
comprised of Wellmont Health System, Adventist Health
System and Novant Health, will tackle an issue that the
Institute of Medicine rates as the
eighth-leading cause of death in the United States, higher
than motor-vehicle crashes, breast cancer or AIDS.
estimated 98,000 hospital deaths occur annually from
medical errors. These mistakes carry with them
approximately $37.6 billion in additional charges,
including $17 billion associated with preventable errors.
While there have been many piecemeal approaches to patient
safety, a total solution has remained elusive, in part due
to the lack of standardized benchmarks for comparing the
performance of healthcare professionals.
creating metrics and identifying best practices, the
alliance's Safest Hospital Initiative will seek to
specifically define how a truly "safe" hospital should
function and provide treatment to its patients.
healthcare industry has been waiting for a perfect
system," said Dr. Richard Salluzzo, president and chief
executive officer of Wellmont Health System and founder of
the Safest Hospital Alliance. "We can no longer wait.
We're not doing this because we've been forced to by
government-mandated changes in the healthcare industry.
We're doing it because it's right."
improvements may be evident within a year, but over a
two-year period, the alliance will focus on one to three
core processes that cut across the hospital organization,
seeking to close the gap between current performance and
perfection by 80 percent. There is also significant
financial benefit to improved patient safety. Preliminary
estimates suggest that implementing the safest hospital
template could reduce healthcare costs by 20 to 30
Salluzzo, a double-board-certified physician, said the
alliance hospitals expect to become a resource for other
healthcare systems and will share program templates,
initiate consulting services and offer training programs.
The alliance, whose members serve approximately 1.5
percent of all patients in the United States, has also
assembled a blue-ribbon advisory panel comprised of safety
and quality experts such as Dr. Kenneth Kizer and former
U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill.
Safest Hospital Alliance also has the backing of the
nation's leading hospital quality organization, the Joint
Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
The actual development of the safest hospital benchmarks
and templates will be driven by the chief medical officers
of the alliance's three member health systems: Dr. Anthony
Oliva, Wellmont; Dr. Ron Jimenez, Adventist; and Dr.
Stephen Wallenhaupt, Novant.
members understand the goal of being recognized as
America's safest hospitals is a significant undertaking,
and the journey will be as important as the final outcome.
"We are determined to do nothing less than achieve
complete safety and the delivery of ideal care in all of
our hospitals," Dr. Salluzzo said.
Safest Hospital Alliance is the healthcare industry's
first initiative to develop a total solution to hospital
patients' safety. The alliance is comprised of three of
the country's leading health systems - Wellmont Health
System, Adventist Health System and Novant Health.
Richard Salluzzo, president and CEO of the Wellmont
system, is the founder of the Safest Hospital Alliance.
Health System is the premier provider of healthcare
services for Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and
Southeast Kentucky. Comprised of 12 owned and affiliated
hospitals, the Wellmont system includes Holston Valley
Medical Center in Kingsport, Tenn., Bristol Regional
Medical Center in Bristol, Tenn., Takoma Regional Hospital
in Greenville, Tenn., Hawkins County Memorial Hospital in
Rogersville, Tenn., Hancock County Hospital in Sneedville,
Tenn., the Holston Valley Regional Children's Hospital and
Center in Kingsport, Tenn., Jenkins Community Hospital in
Jenkins, Ky., Lonesome Pine Hospital in Big Stone Gap,
Va., Wellmont Ridgeview in Bristol, Va., as well as
partnerships with Select Specialty Hospital in Bristol,
Tenn., and HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in
Kingsport, Tenn., and Bristol, Va.
Wellmont system includes more than 1,100 licensed beds and
employs more than 5,000 dedicated professionals. Nearly
1,000 physicians practice at Wellmont hospitals,
delivering unsurpassed medical care to thousands of
residents each year. Wellmont hospitals have been
recognized as Top 100 performers in heart care, intensive
care and performance improvement, and the health system
operates two trauma centers and a neonatal intensive care
Health System was founded in 1973 to support and
strengthen Seventh-Day Adventist healthcare organizations
in the southern and southwestern regions of the United
States. It quickly became the largest not- for-profit
Protestant healthcare provider in the nation.
Adventist Health System includes 36 hospitals totaling
more than 6,000 licensed beds, providing care for nearly
four million patients each year in inpatient, outpatient
and emergency room visits and employing almost 43,000
members of their communities in full and part-time
Health System's flagship, Florida Hospital, is one of the
largest healthcare providers in America and a national
leader in cardiac care. Established in 1980, Florida
Hospital now provides more than 1,800 beds on seven
campuses and is recognized for the quality of its cancer
care, neurosciences, orthopedics, kidney disease, limb
replantation, sports medicine, rehabilitation and women's
Health consists of 202 physician clinics and eight
hospitals in North Carolina's Charlotte, Triad and
southeastern regions: Presbyterian Hospital, Presbyterian
Orthopaedic Hospital, Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville
and Presbyterian Hospital Matthews of the Charlotte area;
Forsyth Medical Center, Medical Park Hospital and
Thomasville Medical Center in the Triad region; and
Brunswick Community Hospital along the coast. Other
facilities and programs of Novant Health include two
nursing homes, outpatient surgery and diagnostic centers,
rehabilitation programs and community health outreach
services. Novant Health is ranked seventh nationally among
the Top 100 Integrated Healthcare Networks in 2007, an
analysis conducted by the national Verispan health