More than 200 hospitals in Illinois and Michigan will be asked to ramp up their quality and patient safety efforts even more next year as part of a partnership between the hospital associations representing those two states.

The Illinois Hospital Association and the Michigan Health & Hospital Association jointly formed a CMS-backed Hospital Engagement Network, part of the Partnership for Patients program that has set goals of reducing hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent and preventable readmissions by 20 percent, in a one-year period.

The American Hospital Association’s Health Research & Educational Trust also oversaw a HEN in the first round of the Affordable Care Act-funded program, and will do so again in this second round.

The Illinois and Michigan associations are leveraging their experiences with the previous three-year, HEN-driven efforts to fine-tune their plans in this newer, one-year HEN program. “We’ve had the opportunity over the past nine months to evaluate what worked well, what didn’t work so well under that first contract,” says Brittany Bogan, vice president of patient safety and quality for the MHA’s Keystone Center. “We’re going in with a continued focus on collaboration, but we’re asking hospitals to focus most intensely on three foundational concepts: culture, high reliability and patient engagement,” Bogan said.

In addition, hospitals joining the HEN will be collaborating and learning from each other in both states, and sharing both outcomes and process-based data as part of that. Bogan says a new streamlined data repository will make the data-sharing experience much easier than it was previously.

One of the noteworthy goals of the states’ partnership HEN is that participants perform daily safety-focused huddles, bringing together different disciplines within a hospital.

In general, the HEN’s efforts will attempt to broaden responsibility for quality and patient safety beyond a small concentrated circle. “As opposed to one person being the ‘HEN person,’ and doing all the work, we are working with them to identify a team that will participate in the collaborative,” says Jay Bhatt, D.O., IHA chief health officer.

And although the HEN is set to expire at the end of 2016, that doesn’t mean collaboration is going to end between the states. “We’ve also been able to build relationships and set the foundation for future initiatives,” Bhatt says.