Aetna Joins Nation's Leading Employers in Campaign to Improve Patient Safety; `Leapfrog Group' Leverages Employer Purchasing Power to Save Lives

Apr 19, 2001, 01:00 ET from Aetna

    HARTFORD, Conn., April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to one of the most
 disturbing realities in health care -- the prevalence of preventable medical
 errors -- Aetna (NYSE:   AET) announced today that it has joined The Leapfrog
 Group in its market-based effort to improve patient safety across the nation.
 Aetna is the first health care and group benefits company to join Leapfrog, a
 consortium of Fortune 500 companies and other health care purchasers who have
 agreed to base their purchase of health care on principles encouraging more
 stringent patient safety measures.
     "As a major employer, Aetna's interest in our employees doesn't begin and
 end with the workday.  We remain keenly aware of how an employee's overall
 health and well-being can affect his or her ability to contribute to our
 business.  Clearly, The Leapfrog Group's mission to improve the safety of an
 employee's health care experience is far reaching as it enables employees to
 remain healthy and productive," said Elease Wright, Senior Vice President of
 Human Resources.
     "Although we're joining Leapfrog as an employer, Aetna has long been
 serious about encouraging patient safety on behalf of our more than 19 million
 health members," said William C. Popik, M.D., Senior Vice President and Chief
 Medical Officer.  "Our efforts already include myriad projects such as grants
 for academic research on medical errors and strategies to improve patient
 safety, and pharmacy programs that alert participating pharmacists to
 potentially harmful drug interactions.  Now, we're complementing these existing
 initiatives by joining Leapfrog's campaign to create a safer health care
 experience for our employees."
     On August 10, 2000, Aetna announced $840,000 in research grants to five
 leading academic institutions to study issues such as improving surgical
 patient safety, infection control for long-term care facilities, and improving
 medication safety.  Aetna has also implemented drug-to-drug and drug-to-disease
 pharmacy programs that integrate medical and pharmacy data in order to alert
 participating pharmacists to potentially harmful drug interactions at the point
 a drug is dispensed.
     "In our role as a health care insurer we will also promote awareness of the
 Leapfrog program among our participating hospitals, and continue to develop
 additional patient safety enhancements for our existing programs," Dr. Popik
 said.
     A 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found that up to 98,000
 Americans die every year from preventable medical errors made in hospitals.
 It is precisely because the scientific literature shows that so many medical
 errors are preventable that Leapfrog and its member companies have chosen to
 focus their efforts on patient safety improvements.
     "Members of The Leapfrog Group have set out to reduce preventable medical
 errors by changing the way they purchase health care," said Suzanne Delbanco,
 Ph.D., Executive Director of The Leapfrog Group.  "By encouraging health care
 providers to adopt proven safety measures, thousands of Americans can be
 protected from disability and death."
     The Leapfrog Group is a Business Roundtable-sponsored commitment to
 mobilize employer purchasing power to initiate breakthrough improvements in the
 safety of health care for Americans.  It is a voluntary program aimed at
 mobilizing large purchasers to alert America's health industry that big "leaps"
 in patient safety and customer value will be recognized and rewarded.  The
 Leapfrog Group's approximately 80 members provide health benefits for more than
 24 million Americans; Leapfrog members and their employees spend more than
 $45 billion on health care annually.  More information on The Leapfrog Group,
 including details on it patient safety measures, purchasing principles and a
 complete list of members, is available at www.leapfroggroup.org.
     Aetna is the nation's leading provider of health care and group benefits,
 serving more than 19 million health care members, 14 million dental members and
 nearly 12 million group insurance customers as of December 31, 2000.  More
 information on Aetna is available at www.aetna.com.
 
 

SOURCE Aetna
    HARTFORD, Conn., April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to one of the most
 disturbing realities in health care -- the prevalence of preventable medical
 errors -- Aetna (NYSE:   AET) announced today that it has joined The Leapfrog
 Group in its market-based effort to improve patient safety across the nation.
 Aetna is the first health care and group benefits company to join Leapfrog, a
 consortium of Fortune 500 companies and other health care purchasers who have
 agreed to base their purchase of health care on principles encouraging more
 stringent patient safety measures.
     "As a major employer, Aetna's interest in our employees doesn't begin and
 end with the workday.  We remain keenly aware of how an employee's overall
 health and well-being can affect his or her ability to contribute to our
 business.  Clearly, The Leapfrog Group's mission to improve the safety of an
 employee's health care experience is far reaching as it enables employees to
 remain healthy and productive," said Elease Wright, Senior Vice President of
 Human Resources.
     "Although we're joining Leapfrog as an employer, Aetna has long been
 serious about encouraging patient safety on behalf of our more than 19 million
 health members," said William C. Popik, M.D., Senior Vice President and Chief
 Medical Officer.  "Our efforts already include myriad projects such as grants
 for academic research on medical errors and strategies to improve patient
 safety, and pharmacy programs that alert participating pharmacists to
 potentially harmful drug interactions.  Now, we're complementing these existing
 initiatives by joining Leapfrog's campaign to create a safer health care
 experience for our employees."
     On August 10, 2000, Aetna announced $840,000 in research grants to five
 leading academic institutions to study issues such as improving surgical
 patient safety, infection control for long-term care facilities, and improving
 medication safety.  Aetna has also implemented drug-to-drug and drug-to-disease
 pharmacy programs that integrate medical and pharmacy data in order to alert
 participating pharmacists to potentially harmful drug interactions at the point
 a drug is dispensed.
     "In our role as a health care insurer we will also promote awareness of the
 Leapfrog program among our participating hospitals, and continue to develop
 additional patient safety enhancements for our existing programs," Dr. Popik
 said.
     A 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found that up to 98,000
 Americans die every year from preventable medical errors made in hospitals.
 It is precisely because the scientific literature shows that so many medical
 errors are preventable that Leapfrog and its member companies have chosen to
 focus their efforts on patient safety improvements.
     "Members of The Leapfrog Group have set out to reduce preventable medical
 errors by changing the way they purchase health care," said Suzanne Delbanco,
 Ph.D., Executive Director of The Leapfrog Group.  "By encouraging health care
 providers to adopt proven safety measures, thousands of Americans can be
 protected from disability and death."
     The Leapfrog Group is a Business Roundtable-sponsored commitment to
 mobilize employer purchasing power to initiate breakthrough improvements in the
 safety of health care for Americans.  It is a voluntary program aimed at
 mobilizing large purchasers to alert America's health industry that big "leaps"
 in patient safety and customer value will be recognized and rewarded.  The
 Leapfrog Group's approximately 80 members provide health benefits for more than
 24 million Americans; Leapfrog members and their employees spend more than
 $45 billion on health care annually.  More information on The Leapfrog Group,
 including details on it patient safety measures, purchasing principles and a
 complete list of members, is available at www.leapfroggroup.org.
     Aetna is the nation's leading provider of health care and group benefits,
 serving more than 19 million health care members, 14 million dental members and
 nearly 12 million group insurance customers as of December 31, 2000.  More
 information on Aetna is available at www.aetna.com.
 
 SOURCE  Aetna