GLENDALE, CALIF. — USC Verdugo Hills Hospital (USC-VHH) recently earned recognition as a participating hospital in the statewide Patient Safety First (PSF) program. Launched in 2010, the program’s focus is on improving quality of care, reducing health-care costs and ultimately saving lives by preventing hospital-borne infections.

By participating in the PSF program, USC-VHH demonstrates its active role in limiting hospital-related infections.

“Preventing infection is every hospital’s top concern, and we take it seriously at USC-VHH,” said Annetta Rhinesmith, director of patient safety at USC-VHH. “Participating in this statewide program gives us additional resources to accomplish that goal.”

USC-VHH is committed to patient safety. For example, “Great Catch” is the hospital’s quality and safety improvement initiative that encourages the identification of potential system errors or problems before they reach the patient. This initiative recognizes staff and physicians for identifying “great catches” and is designed to share key findings across the organization, allowing them the opportunity to improve quality and safety measures and prevent potential errors.

“As part of our mission to deliver high-quality, personalized healthcare, we are proud of our hard work to prevent infections,” said Debbie Walsh, CEO, USC-VHH. “Everyone on our staff is committed to the safety of our patients.”

The PSF campaign aims to reduce an estimated 200,000 hospital-related infections in California and ultimately, to lower health-care costs. The California Department of Public Health estimates that 12,000 people die in the state each year because of these infections. Nationally, 1 in 20 patients admitted to a U.S. hospital develops an infection. An estimated 1.7 million are infected each year, according to the most recent federal estimates, making hospital-borne infections one of the nation’s top 10 causes of death. PSF reports that more than 3,500 deaths have been avoided as a result of reduction in sepsis mortality along with a 43 percent reduction in cases of bloodstream infections, since the program began. The efforts of PSF have been recognized by several awards, most notably the esteemed 2013 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award from the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission.

PSF is a partnership between the National Health Foundation, the Hospital Association of Southern California, Anthem Blue Cross and more than 160 hospitals across the state.