Addressing the Crisis of Hospital Errors in the U.S.

Addressing the Crisis of Hospital Errors in the U.S.

“We are burying a population the size of Miami every year from medical errors that can be prevented.”

With the divisive and disruptive roll out of, The Leapfrog Group’s fall update to Hospital Safety Scores has been relegated to back-page news. Do your employees know that as many as 100,000 Americans are dying annually from preventable hospital errors, making it the third leading cause of death in the U.S.? They should — because, given the right resources, they may be able to avert medical catastrophe.

Human toll aside, hospital-acquired conditions, readmissions and serious reportable events are significant issues affecting employee health care claims costs shared by all purchasers. An estimated $30 billion is lost annually due to avoidable costs such as longer hospital stays.

The most-recent report shows that while many hospitals are making headway in addressing errors, overall progress remains slow.

Screen shot 2013-10-29 at 3.21.48 PMWhat You Can Do to Contribute to Improving Hospital Quality

  • Become active in The Action Group’s quality and safety initiatives. See chart, below, for ideas.
  • Visit the Innovation section of the website to learn more about what’s happening in our own communities:
  • Ask your health plan what they’re doing, how they compare, and how they can improve. For example, ensure that your health plan tracks and publicly reports the rates of readmission and HACs.
  • Don’t pay for Hospital-Acquired Conditions (HACs) and Serious Reportable Events (SREs). Helpful tips can be found in the Health Care Purchaser Toolkit: Hospital-Acquired Condition Payment Policy from the National Business Coalition on Health.
  • Make high-performance provider networks available to your employees.
  • Raise awareness about patient safety among your employees. Provide incentives for them to choose networks that provide consistent, high-quality care.

How The Action Group Contributes to Improving Health Care Quality and Safety

  • The Action Group leverages the voice and power of members, serving as community leaders and collaborators, working to advance change through programs like MN Bridges to Excellence and Choosing Wisely.
  • In addition to Action Group activities, staff members also represent the interests and concerns of members by participating on external work groups and committees:
Minnesota National
  • Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q)
    • Leadership Team
  • Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (ICSI)
    • Choosing Wisely Minnesota – co-grantee
    • Reducing Avoidable Readmissions Effectively (RARE)
  • Minnesota Community Measurement (MNCM)
    • Measurement and Reporting Committee
    • Cost of Care Measure Technical Advisory Group and Workgroups
  • MN Chartered Value Exchange
  • MN Legislature Reform Workgroups
  • MN Patient Safety Alliance (MAPS)
  • State of MN Innovation Model


  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
    • Chartered Value Exchanges
  • California Health Benefits Review Program
    • National Advisory Council
  • Consumer/Purchaser Disclosure Project
  • National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH)
  • National Council of Quality Accreditation (NCQA)
    • Standards Committee
  • National Quality Forum (NQF)
    • Consensus Standards Approval Committee
    • Cost and Resource Use Committee

If you have questions or want to get involved in improving health care quality and safety on behalf of your employees and all Minnesotans, please contact us. There are many ways to help and to join forces with like-minded individuals who are committed to this important cause.