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March 9, 2023

Governor McMaster Declares March “SC Zero Harm Patient Safety Month”

(Columbia, South Carolina – March 13, 2023) In recognition of the amazing strides of South Carolina’s hospitals and health systems in advancing care quality and patient safety, Governor McMaster has declared March “SC Zero Harm Patient Safety Month.” National Patient Safety Awareness Week, March 12-18, seeks to advance important discussions locally and globally, and inspire action to improve the safety of the health care system – for patients and the workforce.

In 2023 SCHA will celebrate 10 years of its Certified Zero Harm Awards program, which recognizes the progress the state’s hospitals have made in eliminating areas of harm, such as bloodstream and post-surgery infections, utilizing systemic and procedural improvements that foster a culture of learning, accountability and innovation. SCHA has awarded more than 1,500 Certified Zero Harm Awards since launching the program in 2013.

South Carolina hospitals have adopted new approaches towards improving quality of care and are now national models for high reliability with the only statewide program recognizing hospitals for eliminating harm certified by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

In 2022 alone, 60 South Carolina hospitals collectively won 295 Certified Zero Harm Awards, which represents:

  • 204,475 patient days without harm,
  • 117,532 central line days without harm,
  • 1,772 hospital days avoided,
  • $6.16 million in projected savings.

These numbers represent real procedures and outcomes from around the state by tracking eight clinical categories including hip and knee replacements, colorectal surgery and infections like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridioides difficile (C. diff).

In recent years the state’s hospital community has expanded the scope of Zero Harm to include suicide prevention with the Drive to Zero Suicide award. Given in partnership with the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (DMH), this award recognizes facilities that are embracing Zero Harm through the adoption of specific Zero Suicide strategies, including specific training, policy enhancements, safety planning, screening, changes related to electronic medical records (for tracking & reporting suicide), and formal coordination with their local community mental health center.

The Certified Zero Harm awards are administered by SCHA thanks to the support of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. The awards are given in partnership with SC DHEC and SC DMH and inspired by work established by Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, TX. Learn more about SCHA’s Zero Harm Program at