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Joint Commission: Quality of Patient Care Improved in 2009

Matt Phillion, for HealthLeaders Media, January 18, 2010

The US has seen a steady improvement over the past seven years in patient care quality, according to The Joint Commission's new annual report.

The annual report, "Improving America's Hospitals: The Joint Commission's Report on Quality and Safety 2009," looks at heart attacks, heart failures, pneumonia, and surgical conditions, and provides evidence of improvements made.

"In addition to saving lives and improving health, improved quality reduces healthcare costs by eliminating preventable complications," Mark R. Chassin, MD, MPP, MPH, president of The Joint Commission, said in a prepared statement. "Quality improvement is an important aspect of the ongoing reform effort to make healthcare accessible to more Americans and 'bend the curve' on increasing costs."

The Joint Commission, like CMS, has focused its energies on preventable conditions in recent years. "By eliminating the preventable complications that today drive up the cost of care, we would easily save billions of dollars lawmakers are struggling so hard to locate," said Chassin.

The Joint Commission now tracks 31 measures in the annual report—five more were added for the calendar year 2008. More than 3,000 Joint Commission accredited hospitals contributed data to the report. This year's report showed significant growth since the first report issued in 2002.

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