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Acting Secretary of Health Kicks Off PA’s Sepsis Awareness Month at Conference Hosted by HAP

September 07, 2017

Yesterday, Dr. Rachel Levine, Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, unveiled the Governor’s proclamation declaring September 2017 as Sepsis Awareness Month in the commonwealth. HAP introduced ExSEPSIS, a new initiative designed to help hospitals and health systems reduce sepsis readmissions.

Acting Secretary Levine expressed her support for efforts to combat sepsis, a challenging-to-treat infection that claimed the lives of more than 8,000 Pennsylvanians during 2016. More than 220 clinicians from across the state were reminded that fast action is crucial to successful sepsis treatment. Minutes may determine if a victim loses life or limb.

Conference participants heard from the mother of a sepsis survivor about the importance of knowing and sharing the signs of sepsis. Clinical leaders from Pennsylvania hospitals and health systems discussed:

  • Differences in the prevention and treatment of sepsis in emergency rooms, post-operatively, and in intensive care units
  • Overcoming barriers to sepsis care bundles 
  • Efforts to reduce sepsis readmissions 

Pennsylvania hospitals have made great strides in reducing mortality rates for sepsis, a deadly and difficult-to-treat bloodstream infection. From 2010 to 2015, Pennsylvania hospitals cut sepsis mortality rates by more than one third (from 16.1% to 10.2%).

But sepsis readmission rates are still high. According to Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, sepsis is one of the top three reasons why Pennsylvania patients become “superutilizers” because their illnesses:

  • Require frequent trips to hospital emergency rooms and/or hospitalizations
  • Consequently increase the need for intensive and extensive treatment that might have been avoided through early intervention and collaborative care

The HAP Hospital Improvement Innovation Network’s ExSEPSIS project supports hospitals in their work to reduce sepsis readmission rates. The project will teach hospitals and health systems how to formulate a plan to prevent sepsis readmissions. Hospitals participating in the network are eligible to participate.

For more information about HAP’s Hospital Improvement Innovation Network, contact Michael J. Consuelos, MD, HAP’s senior vice president, clinical integration. For more information about ExSEPSIS, contact Maggie Miller, HAP’s sepsis project manager, quality initiatives.

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