Primaris honored for efforts to help transform nation’s healthcare system

Primaris, a Columbia-based healthcare consulting company, was honored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for its efforts to help transform the quality of care in the nation’s hospitals as part of the Partnership for Patients initiative.

The success of the initiative led to CMS employees Dr. Paul McGann, CMS chief medical officer, Jean Moody-Williams, Deputy Director of CMS’s Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, and Dennis Wagner, director of CMS’ Center for Clinical Standards and Quality’s Quality Improvement Group, being honored as the 2016 Federal Employees of the Year and winners of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal from the Partnership for Public Service.

A non-profit, non-partisan organization, the Partnership for Public Service aims to make government more effective and honors federal employees who by break down barriers, overcome huge challenges and produce results.

“We were thrilled to be selected,” McGann, Moody-Williams and Wagner said in a press release. “But, knew that we were accepting such an award on behalf of the large, impactful team of Hospital Improvement and Innovation Networks, Quality Improvement Organizations, Federal Partners, Private Partners and CMS staff and managers that collaboratively made these results a reality.”

As part of CMS’ Partnership for Patients initiative, Primaris helped to save the lives of more than 87,000 patients while hospitals saw a savings of nearly $20 billion as a result of the Quality Improvement Group’s efforts.  According to CMS, the Partnership for Patients initiative had two goals: decrease preventable hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent and decrease hospital re-admissions by 20 percent.

Launched in 2011, the Partnership for Patients identified nine hospital-acquired conditions that were responsible for more than 50 percent of all needless injuries and deaths. These conditions included adverse drug events, catheter-associated urinary-tract infections, pressure ulcers and surgical-site infections, among others.

“These front-line caregivers got into the healthcare business because they want to give good care,” Wagner said. “A big part of our work is unleashing their talent, helping them to transform their own work and helping institutions provide the care that they want to deliver.”

Primaris and other members of CMS’ Quality Improvement Organization program, implemented solutions to improve the level of care for patients as they transitioned from one health care setting to another. This required collaboration and communication among patients, health-care providers, hospitals, nursing homes, patient caregivers and social service providers to share both their positive and negative experiences.

“You are asking health care systems and hospitals, which are normally competitors, to share vulnerabilities,” Moody-Williams said. “It took a lot of work for them to share where they were struggling.”

The four-year effort involved 3,700 hospitals, representing 80 percent of the U.S. population. To help them make progress, the partnership identified high-performing hospitals and shared with other participants how they were able to achieve a dramatic reduction in a specific harm, such as medication errors and reducing hospital readmissions.

“We have proven that these patient harms don’t have to occur,” she said. “It’s truly transformative work for the country.”


About Primaris: Primaris is a healthcare consulting firm that works with hospitals, physicians and nursing homes to drive better health outcomes, improved patient experiences and reduced costs. For more information, visit and follow @primaris_health.