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AHRQ Awards Nearly $4 Million in Challenge Grants to Help Hospitals Improve Patient Safety

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Press Release Date: November 3, 2003

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality today announced the award of almost $4 million to fund 13 projects designed to improve patient safety. Six of the grants will assess patient safety risks to patients and devise ways to prevent them; the remaining seven will implement safe practices that show evidence of eliminating or reducing known hazards to patient safety.

"These grants not only will help hospitals put proven remedies in place to reduce errors, but also will provide a wealth of information on where risks still occur and what can be done to eliminate them," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. "Efforts like these will help hospitals and other parts of the health care system make meaningful progress to improve the quality of care for patients."

The 13 grants build on the Agency's 3-year, $165 million investment in patient safety research. AHRQ currently has over 100 other research projects that comprise an extensive, user-driven patient safety research agenda designed to improve patient safety and enhance quality of care. Below is a list of the institutions that have received a challenge grant, the city and state in which the project will be conducted, and the federal dollars awarded.

"We see these challenge grants as an exciting opportunity to provide hospitals the resources to identify and confront the causes of medical errors," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "The findings of this research will help us reach our ultimate goal of ensuring that Americans receive high-quality, safe health care."

The Agency will provide up to 50 percent of the total cost of the projects, while grant recipients will be required to provide a minimum of 50 percent of the total costs. However, some grant recipients will be providing far more than the minimum. For example, for the implementation project awarded to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan will provide up to $10 million in incentive payments to hospital participants in Michigan, in addition to the commitments made by participating Michigan hospital teams and the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

These cooperative agreements are being announced in collaboration with the Patient Safety Task Force established by Secretary Thompson to coordinate research efforts across HHS. The Task Force is composed of AHRQ, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the Food and Drug Administration.

Risk Assessment Grants

  • Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA: $200,000.
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, TN: $200,000.
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA: $199,968.
  • Veterans Medical Research Foundation, San Diego, CA: $187,895.
  • Oregon Department of Human Services, Portland, OR: $165,205.
  • University of Chicago Chicago, IL: $139,400.

Implementation Grants

  • Sacred Heart Medical Center Foundation, Eugene, OR: $498,720.
  • University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, MO: $470,620.
  • Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD: $454,590.
  • Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, Oakland, CA: $443,767.
  • University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA: $400,000.
  • Cincinnati Foundation for Biomedical Research and Education, Cincinnati, OH: $327,721.
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI: $270,175.

Total Awards: $3,958,061

For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs: Karen Migdail, (301) 427-1855 (


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