New report says Wisconsin hospitals have reduced costs by $45.6 million

The Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) has issued a new report that shows Wisconsin hospitals have reduced health care costs in the state by $45.6 million.

WHA said one of the most dramatic decreases was in the number of patients readmitted to the hospital after an inpatient stay. The average readmission costs $9,600, WHA said, and hospitals that are working on this have already prevented 3,556 readmissions, a cost reduction of $34 million.

The report also says hospitals have worked to significantly impact three types of infections – central line-associated blood stream ($5.9 million in savings), surgical site ($4.5 million in savings), and catheter-associated urinary tract ($430,000 in savings).

“When improvement work reduces hospital-associated infections and readmissions it translates into cost savings, and that is a value for patients, employers and insurers,” said Steve Brenton, WHA president.

Four members of Wisconsin’s Legislature’s Health Committee, Rep. Erik Severson (R-Sun Prairie), Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Shorewood), Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) and Sen. Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee) issued the following statement on these initiatives:

“We applaud the efforts of Wisconsin hospitals as they are working to lower health care costs by raising the quality of care…These impressive results would not have been possible without the dedication of our nurses, physicians and the entire care team working together to implement better and safer ways to care for patients. We commend Wisconsin’s hospitals for their success to date and for their ongoing commitment to improve the quality and safety of patient care in our state.”

The WHA report also documents positive quality improvement results in the following areas:

  • 42 percent reduction in central line-associated blood stream infections, safer care for 311 patients and nearly $6 million in avoided costs between 2008-2013
  • 37 percent reduction in surgical site infections, safer care for 228 patients and nearly $5 million in avoided health care costs from 2012-2013
  • 33 percent reduction in catheter-associated urinary tract infections, safer care for 573 patients and $429,000 in avoided hospital costs from 2011-2013
  • 26 percent reduction in falls, safer care for 176 patients, and savings of $429,750 between 2012-2013
  • 78 percent reduction in early elective deliveries (before 39 weeks gestation), safer care for 291 infants, and $211,922 in avoided costs from 2012-2013

“Achieving and delivering this high level of excellence in clinical performance does not happen by chance ,” said Kelly Court, WHA chief quality officer. “It takes organizational commitment and human and financial resources to design and improve processes that drive out harm and reduce waste. Every member of the health team, including physicians, nurses, support staff and leaders at all levels must adhere to the clinical processes and hold others accountable as well.”

“Wisconsin is a recognized leader in health care quality and value. Our goal is to ensure that every patient in our state receives the finest care possible no matter where they go for that care. Through our collaboration on quality improvement, that goal is in range,” said Brenton. “As much as hospitals have been able to significantly improve care, however, Wisconsin health care leaders are keenly aware that their work is far from over.”

For further details, see chart below.

View the full report here.

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