Minnesota Hospital Association


February 04, 2020

Ensuring patient safety and quality of care

Minnesota’s leadership on quality and patient safety is recognized throughout the nation, and other states look to the Minnesota Hospital Association in creating their own patient safety programs.

Multiple independent quality organizations continually rank Minnesota among the top for health care quality.

  • The federal Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ) has ranked Minnesota among the best states overall for health care quality. This report is considered the gold standard for measuring the health care quality performance of states.
  • Minnesota is ranked third in the nation for health care access, quality and outcomes by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation. Minnesota was one of only two states rated in the top quartile for all five dimensions measured – access and affordability, prevention and treatment, avoidable hospital use and cost, healthy lives, and disparity. The state ranks second in the nation in the category of prevention and treatment and fourth in the nation in the category of healthy lives. If all states performed as well as Minnesota, there would be approximately 90,000 fewer premature deaths before age 75 for conditions that can be detected early and effectively treated with good follow-up care.
  • MHA received the 2015 Dick Davidson Quality Milestone Award from the American Hospital Association. The award recognized state, regional or metropolitan hospital associations that demonstrate leadership and innovation in quality improvement and contribute to national health care improvement efforts.
  • MHA was among organizations honored on at the 2016 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Quality Conference for diligent work; authentic collaboration with patients, clinicians and partners; and unprecedented national impact on patient safety in all U.S. hospitals. The efforts of MHA and Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems alongside other national, regional and state hospital associations, quality improvement organizations and health system organizations have saved 87,000 lives, prevented 2.1 million instances of patient harm and yielded $19.8 billion in cost savings nationwide.

Minnesota’s hospitals are leading multiple quality and patient safety initiatives to improve care through evidence-based practices.

  • A nation-leading adverse health events reporting system, multiple patient safety calls to action and development of new methods of measuring quality demonstrate Minnesota hospitals’ commitment to quality and patient safety.
  • Since 2011, MHA has been a leader on national health care quality improvement efforts guided by CMS. In 2019, MHA and partners from Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin formed a new quality improvement organization, Superior Health Quality Alliance, that aims to improve the quality of health and health care for health care consumers, patients, clinicians, health care organizations and communities. In June 2019, CMS selected Superior Health as a Prime awardee of the Network of Quality Improvement and Innovation Contractor. In November 2019, CMS awarded a five-year contract to Superior Health to serve as the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO).
  • To reduce wrong surgical site and wrong procedure events, MHA convened member experts and developed a new statewide Time Out Surgical Checklist to help standardize best practices at hospitals and health systems while creating an environment for any team member to speak up about safety concerns. 
  • MHA partnered with member experts and the Minnesota Department of Human Services to develop a road map to better identify, screen and treat neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), or drug withdrawal that occurs in newborns who were exposed to opioids prior to birth. The road map was launched in August 2019 at MHA’s inaugural Healthy Moms and Babies Summit, which was attended by care team members from every birthing hospital in Minnesota. A full 100% of MHA member birthing hospitals and health systems are actively participating in the NAS road map.
  • Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems are addressing the opioid crisis in their communities by implementing new prescriber protocols, tracking reductions in opioid prescriptions, reviewing patients on long-term opioids and developing alternative programs for pain management, using medication-assisted therapy as a treatment and working to integrate the state’s prescription monitoring program data with electronic health record systems. Because hospitals should be places of safety and healing for caregivers, patients and visitors, Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems have been enhancing violence prevention and response plans and training health care staff since 2013. In 2014, a public-private coalition of health care stakeholders including MHA published a gap analysis on workplace violence prevention to help health care organizations identify risks for violence and put effective strategies in place. A full 100% of MHA member hospitals and health systems participate in the gap analysis.
  • MHA co-convened a statewide coalition including the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association to create a common framework for how to care for patients involved in law enforcement. The coalition included membership from large and small health systems and other stakeholders including police departments and sheriffs’ offices statewide.