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March 9, 2021

Governor McMaster Declares March “Zero Harm Patient Safety Month” in South Carolina

As the state’s frontline healthcare workers continue to lead the response to COVID-19, Governor Henry McMaster is honoring South Carolina’s hospitals for serving as a national model for advancing quality and safety in patient care. In recognition of the work the state’s hospitals and health systems are doing to advance highly reliable care, March 2021 has been named “S.C. Zero Harm Patient Safety Month” in South Carolina.

In 2016, Johns Hopkins medicine released a study suggesting that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America. And even before that, hospitals across the country were engaged in patient safety programs to improve health outcomes.

Recognizing that eliminating preventable medical errors is paramount to providing quality, highly reliable care, the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) launched the Certified Zero Harm Awards in 2014 to acknowledge hospitals that prevent hospital acquired conditions and adverse events over an extended period.

SCHA’s Zero Harm program was inspired by Memorial Hermann Health System in Texas after it announced a similar effort to recognize facilities within their health system for adopting a “Zero Harm” approach to patient care. The program was launched with support from The Duke Endowment, and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has been an active partner in certifying the clinical results. It is the only statewide health improvement network of its kind in the nation and a testament to the commitment of South Carolina’s hospital community.

“When we launched SCHA’s Zero Harm program in 2014, we had no idea how quickly and widely our hospitals would adopt this initiative,” said SCHA President and CEO, Thornton Kirby. “Now we are looking at an effort where the large majority of our members are implementing new approaches to high reliability, and I’m proud to say that we have given out 1,000 Certified Zero Harm Awards in the first seven years.”

In 2020 alone, 59 South Carolina hospitals won 239 Certified Zero Harm Awards representing 952,337 patient days, 165,997 central line infection-free days and 21,552 surgical procedures without any incidents of harm. This accounts for a projected savings of $10.85 million dollars and 4,219 hospital days avoided.

SCHA joins Gov. McMaster in congratulating the state’s hospitals and health systems for leading the nation in statewide efforts to advance highly reliable care and for helping lead South Carolina to a better state of health.

SCHA is committed to making South Carolina one of the nation’s healthiest states by helping our hospitals and health systems provide the best care possible. We advocate for sound healthcare policies and legislation, facilitate collaboration to tackle problems that none of us could solve alone, find and share innovations and best practices, and provide data, education, and business solutions to help our members better serve their patients and communities. Together, we are leading South Carolina to a better state of health. Learn more about SCHA at

Media Contact: Kyle