South Carolina Hospitals to Eliminate Infections, Reduce Cost of Care

In an effort to reduce avoidable deaths, patient harm and healthcare costs, all 65 acute-care hospitals in South Carolina have joined a collaborative aimed at eliminating preventable healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) statewide while safely reducing associated costs.

Health Sciences South Carolina (HSSC), the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) and the Premier healthcare alliance today announced the formation of the South Carolina Healthcare Quality Trust (SC HQT), a voluntary, first of its kind partnership. Through the SC HQT, the state’s largest research universities—Clemson University, Medical University of South Carolina and the University of South Carolina—and its largest health systems—Greenville Hospital System, Palmetto Health and Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System—are working through HSSC, utilizing existing evidence-based best practices, as well as researching and developing new methods, to eliminate preventable infections.

"We all know someone whose life has been altered, sometimes permanently, by a preventable healthcare-associated infection," said Jay Moskowitz, president and CEO of HSSC. "South Carolina believes it is time for change. Through this collaborative, we will use our state's best researchers to determine the causes of specific infections. We will test the solutions in our state's four largest health systems, which today treat about 30 percent of all patients, and share the best practices, products and services that result with all 65 of the state's acute-care hospitals.”

“We believe this approach has the potential to make our state's hospitals safer for patients, families and employees, while making our state a national model for healthcare quality,” Moskowitz said.

The SC HQT plans to address both acute and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and heart and vascular diseases, in the future.

“Healthcare-associated infections are a serious threat to patient health and safety in all hospitals, and they add significantly to the cost of care. South Carolina hospitals are not immune to this problem, but they are working on all fronts to identify and eradicate preventable infections,” said Thornton Kirby, president of the SCHA. “We anticipate that this ground-breaking partnership between SCHA, Health Sciences of South Carolina and Premier will bring the latest research and best practice information to every hospital bed in the state.”

In 2006, SCHA worked with legislators on the state’s Hospital Infections Disclosure Act, which requires hospitals to report certain categories of infections to the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control. Last year DHEC published preliminary numbers on its Web site. The Association also has a public Web site at that provides validated hospital-specific performance data

A special information-sharing portal will be developed for all South Carolina hospitals to research the causes of HAIs, and to identify and promote existing and new processes for prevention. Hospitals will be able to track their improvement against state and national benchmarks via the Performance Improvement Portal, Premier’s knowledge exchange community of more than 1,500 healthcare experts nationwide, to develop and share best practices and knowledge on effective strategies for combating HAIs.

“Through the SC HQT, we are developing an approach to eliminating HAIs using evidence-based best practices,” said Premier chief operating officer Susan DeVore. “By measuring performance against state and national benchmarks, the SC HQT will work to become a national model for healthcare quality improvement that every state can utilize to efficiently focus resources and improve the health of their communities.”