December 15, 2011 10:02 ET

VHA Inc. Named a Hospital Engagement Network for CMS Innovation Center's Historic Partnership for Patients Initiative

Only 26 Private-Sector Contracts Awarded by CMS

IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - Dec 15, 2011) - VHA Inc., the national health care network, today announced that it has been selected as a Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) as part of the historic Partnership for Patients initiative launched by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). One of only 26 private-sector organizations selected as an HEN, VHA will now support the CMS and CMMI in achieving the Partnership's objectives to reduce preventable harm by 40% and preventable readmissions by 20% in the next three years.

As an HEN, VHA will work with a defined group of hospital organizations to develop and conduct training activities and learning networks and provide technical support to help organizations improve their clinical performance. In August, VHA submitted an initial proposal to the CMS to become an HEN. This proposal included signed letters of interest from more than 400 VHA member hospitals to collaborate with the company.

"VHA's selection as an HEN is a testament to our long-standing commitment to providing leadership, support and expertise as hospitals navigate the operational, clinical and financial complexities associated with health care reform," said Curt Nonomaque, president and chief executive officer of VHA. "With our full suite of solutions to help manage and improve clinical performance, we are perfectly poised to help hospitals and health care systems meet the Partnership's objectives, along with the demanding challenges they face every day."

Once VHA receives its formal letters of agreement from member hospitals to participate in their HEN, it will work with each hospital to quickly develop the timetable and other requirements of the work needed to address the patient safety domains on which the hospital will focus. Next, VHA will utilize its Rapid Adoption Networks™ (RAN), the company's proprietary framework to help address most pressing needs -- in this case, reducing hospital-acquired conditions and preventable readmissions -- and provide hospitals the skills to rapidly realize practice change within their organization. This step-by-step methodology focuses on identifying and understanding specific obstacles to achieving improvements, as well as how to surmount them.

"For nearly 35 years, VHA has successfully designed, developed and implemented many clinical improvement collaboratives," said Colleen Risk, VHA's executive vice president, member networks. "Our participation in the Partnership for Patients initiative allows the company to put this expertise to critical use as it works, industry-wide, to achieve the Partnership's ambitious patient safety objectives."

Members also will be able to leverage VHA's industry-leading clinical quality improvement tools, including the Leading Practice Portal™ and Leading Practice Blueprints™, and demonstrated expertise at creating and supporting effective peer-to-peer learning networks, which will be a distinct advantage for hospitals working with VHA as an HEN. Additionally, VHA's newly launched performance management service suite will help the hospitals rapidly develop actionable insights to improve quality and reduce cost with a focus on linking clinical, financial, operational and supply data across the care continuum.

VHA expects significant participation in the Partnership for Patients initiative, given the pressing need to improve quality and patient safety and the risk of future financial penalties that may be imposed by CMS on organizations that don't improve. VHA is uniquely suited to be an HEN given the breadth and depth of the company's national and regional networks, long-standing commitment to improving members' performance and existing tools and resources and looks forward to partnering with members to achieve the initiative's objectives.

About VHA - VHA Inc., based in Irving, Texas, is a national network of not-for-profit health care organizations that work together to drive maximum savings in the supply chain arena, set new levels of clinical performance, and identify and implement best practices to improve operational efficiency and clinical outcomes. Since 1977, VHA has leveraged its expertise in analytics, contracting, consulting and networks to help members achieve their operational, clinical and financial objectives. In 2010, VHA delivered record savings and value of $1.7 billion to members. VHA serves more than 1,350 hospitals and more than 30,000 non-acute care providers nationwide, coordinating delivery of its programs and services through its 16 regional offices. VHA has been ranked as one of the best places to work in healthcare by Modern Healthcare since the publication introduced this list in 2008.

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