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February 26, 2008

Blue Shield of California Foundation Awards $13.1 Million to Improve Patient Safety

Setting a record for its quarterly giving, Blue Shield of California Foundation (BSCF) today announced the award of $13.1 million in grants to nonprofit organizations and programs to improve the quality of patient care through health technology and to expand health insurance for children who do not qualify for public programs.

Nearly half of the money, $5.75 million, will be used to expand the foundation’s groundbreaking program to dramatically reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). After seeing remarkable success in its nine-hospital pilot project, BSCF will use the grant announced today to expand its innovative California Healthcare-Associated Infection Prevention Initiative (CHAIPI) to at least 100 hospitals.

“Hospital acquired infections put lives at risk and increase consumer costs. We want to dramatically reduce those risks by ensuring hospitals have access to innovative new technologies that help pinpoint and stop the spread of infections,” said Crystal Hayling, president and CEO of BSCF. “Given the results we saw in our test program, we expect the broad expansion of this effort to mean 4,000 fewer patients will contract an HAI in the next year, which translates into 30,000 fewer patient days in the hospital, $60 million in avoided costs to patients and hospitals, and nearly $15 million in bottom-line hospital savings.”

In California, an estimated 150,000 patients suffer from HAIs annually, 9,000 of which result in death. Through CHAIPI, participating hospitals will receive support for new technology and collaborative learning opportunities about best practices. While only not-for-profit hospitals can receive funding, this grant is unique because for-profit hospitals are invited to participate in the collaborative learning sessions and will have the opportunity to purchase the technology at a reduced price.

“We look forward to taking CHAIPI to scale because it has the potential to alleviate untold human suffering and save millions of dollars in unnecessary costs, both for patients and our healthcare system,” Hayling said.

Other health and technology grants announced today include:

* $350,000 to the California Health Foundation and Trust to expand its telemedicine program by increasing the number of telemedicine providers and offering technical assistance to those in the field. Telemedicine is vital in rural, underserved areas.

* $115,000 to the California Society of Thoracic Surgeons to study complications of open heart surgery, and to build a single source of clinical data on which to assess and replicate best practices to improve cardiac surgical outcomes.

* $105,000 to the California Children’s Hospital Association for an initiative to reduce catheter-associated and other infections acquired in neonatal intensive care units.

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Posted by healthinsurance at February 26, 2008 09:54 PM