Medline Campaign Focuses on Ridding Hospital-Acquired Conditions

Medline Industries Inc. (Mundelein, Ill.) this week launched "Prevention Above All," a new campaign targeting the prevention of six hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) and the creation of a $1 million research grant program to support the adoption of evidence-based solutions in health care institutions. Starting Oct. 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will pay health care providers a lower-weighted diagnosis-related group for certain HACs when those conditions could have been reasonably prevented by following evidence-based guidelines.

"There are some very innovative and proven solutions available to prevent hospital-acquired conditions," said Medline President Andy Mills. "Our goal with the Prevention Above All campaign is to help health care providers understand the benefits of these solutions and provide the evidence they need to be assured that they offer both clinical and cost-effectiveness."

According to Medline, which manufactures and distributes health care products, there has been much industry discussion on the issue of HACs, but very little of it has centered on the proven solutions available or the challenges of implementation. In addition to providing clarity to the complex issues associated with the CMS policy change, the Prevention Above All campaign also targets a broader issue in health care today--the need to utilize new technologies and better approaches to improve patient care, the company said.

"Implementing innovative solutions is a major challenge for health care providers--many are typically slow adopters when it comes to trying new equipment or different ways of working," Mills said. "Providing targeted interventions that translate research findings into practice will allow healthcare providers to try new technologies with confidence."

Medline said it also aims to stimulate the gathering of solid evidence that supports the adoption of solutions into clinical practice by committing up to $1 million in total costs over several years to fund new grants focused on the HACs CMS has targeted. An independent review panel, whose members represent a breadth of research and practice knowledge, will select grant recipients to be awarded up to $25,000 each for pilot grants or $100,000 each for an empirical study. The first grants will be awarded and funded in 2009 and will cover several areas: pressure ulcers, hand hygiene compliance, retained surgical objects, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, and other pertinent safety and quality areas. The initial request for proposals is expected to be announced in November.

The program will be chaired by Andrew Kramer, M.D., Head of the Department of Medicine's Health Care Policy and Research Division at the University of Colorado and a frequent advisor to the CMS.

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