In response to last week’s report regarding the shocking error rate at U.S. hospitals, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will launch a new national program targeted at preventing hospital negligence injuries. The Agency expects that the program will save 63,000 patients’ lives and $35 billion in health care costs in the next three years, ABC News reports.

“Americans go the hospital to get well, but millions of patients are injured because of preventable complications and accidents,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. Sebelius was responding to the recent report in Health Affairs which indicates that the hospital error rate is 10 times higher than previously thought and that as many as one third of patients suffer hospital related injuries.

“Working closely with hospitals, doctors, nurses, patients, families and employers, we will support efforts to help keep patients safe, improve care, and reduce costs. Working together, we can help eliminate preventable harm to patients.” Sebelius said.

One of the patient advocates present at the HHS press conference was a mother who lost her 18-month-old daughter because of hospital errors.

“The system is broken and we need to fix it,” the mother said. “I am so happy to be a part of this today because I know, I hope, that this thing is going to get going faster.”

The HHS program will involve a $1 billion investment through the Affordable Care Act to help reduce preventable hospital injuries such as surgical errors by 40 percent and preventable readmissions by 20 percent.

Source: ABC News, “HHS Announces Partnership for Patients to Save Lives, Money,” Katie Moisse, 4/12/11