For the past two days I've had the privilege of attending the American Hospital Association's Regional Policy Board which covers New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The meeting kicked off with an unexpected agenda item -- we had to go around the table and each participant had to provide a "bright spot" in healthcare. At first, I had that feeling in the pit of my stomach, similar to when someone at Thanksgiving suggests,"Let's go around the table and say what we're thankful for." But the panic subsided and the ideas began to flow so much that I couldn't wait for my turn.
I talked about being proud that New Jersey hospitals, through a quality collaborative led by our Health Research and Educational Trust, reduced bloodstream infections by a whopping 81 percent. (The CDC reported this week that hospitals nationwide have reduced bloodstream infections by 58 percent.) And I mentioned NJHA's Physician-Hospital Demonstration Project, in which we've been working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to see if hospitals and physicians can work together and drive down costs while maintaining and even improving healthcare quality and safety. The project is going very well. And finally, I talked about the pride I felt after colleagues from other states complimented New Jersey on the outstanding work being done here on medical homes. My colleagues in other states had all read the recent article in the New Yorker by Dr. Atul Gawande regarding the good work being done in Camden by Dr. Jeffrey Brenner and the teams at Virtua, Lourdes Health System and Cooper Health System and in Atlantic City by AtlantiCare. Excellent models exist throughout New Jersey.
So my moment on the hot seat became a moment of great pride over the innovative work being done in New Jersey. And I didn't even get to mention that New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt, our very own rocket scientist, beat Watson the IBM supercomputer in Jeopardy...
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