VHHA Earns Prestigious National Health Care Quality Award from American Hospital Association and Health Research & Education Trust

July 26, 2018

Award Recognizes Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association for Demonstrating Exemplary Dedication and Leadership in Advancing Health Care Quality and Safety on Patients’ Behalf

RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) has been named the recipient of the “2018 HRET HIIN Quality Award” presented by the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Health Research & Education Trust (HRET). The award recognizes a state hospital association for demonstrating exemplary dedication and leadership in advancing the quality and safety of health care for patients, as well as superior performance measured by progress on reducing 11 core patient harm areas and readmissions that are part of the national Partnership for Patients (PfP) program, an initiative of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Enhancing health care quality, safety, value, service, and experience is a top strategic priority for VHHA and its Center for Healthcare Excellence, which was established in 2015 to promote and facilitate collaboration among member hospitals and health systems in improvement efforts as part of the broader goal to make Virginia the healthiest state in the nation. Through the Center, VHHA has been involved in this improvement work through several rounds of Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) efforts, and through the successor Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN) initiative.

“Receiving this national award is a great honor and a positive reflection of the effort Virginia’s hospitals and health systems have dedicated to improving health care quality and safety for patients,” said VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton, who accepted the award during a July 25 ceremony at the AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego, CA. “We are humbled to accept this recognition of the Virginia hospital community’s steadfast commitment to improve health care, and inspired to continue the pursuit of excellence.”

VHHA’s Center for Healthcare Excellence plays a leading role in many initiatives focused on improving health care quality. Among its projects are work to reduce preventable hospital readmissions, to reduce patient harm, to support rural hospitals, to prevent sepsis, and to protect mothers and babies, to name a few.
The HRET HIIN is the largest and most diverse collaborative of its kind – its participants include more than 1,600 hospitals and 34 state hospital associations. The collaborative has set ambitious goals to reduce all-cause inpatient harm by 20 percent, and readmissions by 12 percent, by 2019.

While the work to reduce harm is always ongoing, some encouraging results have already been seen in Virginia. For example, during the HEN (September 2015-September 2016) a total of 1,851 patient harm incidents were prevented at 35 participating Virginia hospitals, yielding $16.5 million in health care cost savings. This work resulted in a 19.2 percent reduction in central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) and 10.1 percent reduction in catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI).

The AHA/HRET award is the latest recognition of the strides being made in Virginia to improve health care quality and safety. Last year, Virginia was rated a top 10 state for health care quality by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The Commonwealth’s overall ninth place ranking reflects substantial improvement from Virginia’s previous middle-of-the-pack status among states. Also n 2017, dozens of Virginia hospitals earned top marks for exceptional patient safety performance. In all, 41 Virginia hospitals received “A” grades in the Fall 2017 Hospital Safety Grade scores from the Leapfrog Group, a national health care patient safety ranking organization. That announcement came months after the Spring 2017 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade scores showed 35 Virginia hospitals had earned “A” grades. The Fall 2017 Leapfrog results place Virginia among the top five states with the highest percentage of “A” grade hospitals.

About VHHA: The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 110 hospitals and 27 health delivery systems that develops and advocates for sound health care policy in the Commonwealth. Its vision is to achieve excellence in both health care and health by fostering collaboration that helps make Virginia the healthiest state in the nation. Connect with VHHA through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and

Download the full press release here.


Julian Walker
Vice President of Communications
(804) 297-3193 office
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