Govt begins new push to improve hospital safety

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal health officials are beginning a new push to improve hospital safety _ aiming to save 60,000 lives over the next three years and save money at the same time.

Hospitals are dangerous places, rife with infections and opportunities for medical mistakes. Yet some hospitals have dramatically reduced those harms, and lowered their bills as patients go home faster.

Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the new national Partnership for Patients will help other hospitals adopt those proven safety strategies. The goal is to cut hospital-caused harms by 40 percent and hospital readmissions by 20 percent within three years. The work is funded by $1 billion from the new health care law, but has the potential to save Medicare up to $10 billion in that same time.

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