The US Department of Health and Human Services has announced a new initiative to end preventable injuries and complications in patient care, which could save thousands of lives and billions of dollars.

The initiative, known as Partnership for Patients, aims to cut preventable hospital-acquired conditions by 40%, by the end of 2013.

It also aims to reduce preventable complications, which occur during a transition from one care setting to another, by 20% by the same deadline.

Over the next three years, the new partnership could help save 60,000 lives and $35bn in healthcare costs. This includes up to $10bn for Medicare, which provides medical coverage for about 45 million elderly people.

Within ten years, the partnership could reduce costs to Medicare by about $50bn and result in billions more in Medicaid savings.

More than 500 hospitals, as well as physicians and nurses groups, consumer groups, and employers, have pledged their commitment to the new initiative.

To launch the initiative, the Department of Health and Human Services announced it would invest up to $1bn in federal funding, made available under the Affordable Care Act.

Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that millions of patients who go to hospitals are injured because of preventable complications and accidents.

“Working closely with hospitals, doctors, nurses, patients, families and employers, we will support efforts to help keep patients safe, improve care, and reduce costs,” Sebelius said.