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SEATTLE - (May 4, 2010) - Virginia Mason Medical Center's team focused on optimizing care transitions from the hospital to home for patients with congestive heart failure has been recognized by both the National Patient Safety Foundation and Qualis Health. The work is part of a multi-year quality improvement focus using evidence-based care intervention bundles to ensure patients and family members have all the information, education and follow-up from care providers needed to be successful at home following a hospital visit.

Heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization in people older than 65 years with almost 3.6 million hospitalizations each year. Patients with heart failure also face substantial risk for readmission to the hospital. On average, 20 percent of discharged patients readmit within 30 days and 50 percent within six months. A major contributor to reducing readmission rates, which cost the U.S. health care system millions every year, is the use of evidence-based bundles to educate patients and family members to manage the patient's care at home after discharge.

Virginia Mason's team focused on optimizing care transitions received the 2010 Stand Up for Patient Safety Management Award from the National Patient Safety Foundation. The award is granted to a member hospital of the Stand Up for Patient Safety program in recognition of the successful implementation of an outstanding patient safety initiative that was led or created by mid-level management and that included staff involvement at all levels of the organization. The award will be conferred at the Annual National Patient Safety Foundation Congress in Orlando, Fla., May 18.

The Stand Up for Patient Safety program was launched in 2002 by 16 founding members, including Virginia Mason. Since then, the program has grown to include more than 400 health care organizations. The NPSF is an independent, not-for-profit organization that has been diligently pursuing one mission since its founding in 1997 — improving the safety of our health care system.

The team also received the Award of Excellence in Healthcare Quality from Qualis Health, an independent nonprofit organization that annually recognizes organizations for quality excellence. The award was presented at the Northwest Patient Safety Conference today.

"These awards confirm the high-quality work this team is doing," said Cathie Furman, RN, senior vice president, Quality and Compliance. "Safe transitions through our system and back home are vital to providing safe and effective care. This team is the epitome of Team Medicine, including everyone from the patient, nurses, providers and support staff."

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a non-profit comprehensive regional health care system in Seattle that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 440 physicians with a 336-bed acute-care hospital. Virginia Mason operates a network of clinics throughout the Puget Sound area; manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and Chronic Care Management program for people living with HIV and AIDS; and operates Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, internationally recognized in autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason is known for applying manufacturing principles to health care to improve quality and patient safety. For more information, visit VirginiaMason.org or Facebook/VMcares or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.

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