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America’s Essential Hospitals Honors Six Members for Quality, Population Health

June 26, 2014


WASHINGTON — America’s Essential Hospitals today recognized six member hospitals for their exceptional work to improve quality and population health in their community and beyond.

The association announced 2014 Gage Award winners at its annual conference, VITAL2014, in San Antonio. The awards, named after association founder Larry Gage, honor and share successful and creative programs that improve patient care and meet community needs.

“Gage Award winners are the best examples of how essential hospitals are leading innovative change in health care,” says America’s Essential Hospitals President and CEO Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH. “These programs are models for success.”

2014 Award for Population Health

This award recognizes activities that have improved delivery, access, or value for specific populations in the recipient’s community and, as a result, have improved health outcomes.

Winner: Memorial Healthcare System (MHS) (Hollywood, Florida) for Health Intervention with Targeted Services. The Health Intervention with Targeted Services (HITS) program is an outreach initiative that offers education, preventive care, and eligibility assistance for the uninsured and underinsured. HITS helped about half of its participants enroll in Medicaid, Florida’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, or MHS community health centers. Over three years, the program helped MHS save $284,856 in the emergency department, about $2.8 million in inpatient costs, and roughly $4 million overall.

Honorable Mention: Eskenazi Health (Indianapolis) for the Aging Brain Care Medical Home. The Aging Brain Care Medical Home is a dementia and depression care program Eskenazi created in collaboration with scientists at the Indiana University Center for Aging Research. After one year, 60 percent of patients with high depression scores had at least a 50-percent reduction in their depressive symptoms, while 47 percent of patients had at least a 50-percent reduction in their behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.

Honorable Mention: Hennepin County Medical Center (Minneapolis) for Aqui Para Ti/ Here for You. Aqui Para Ti (APT) /Here for You is a family centered, clinic-based youth development program that seeks to reduce health disparities for Latino youth using a culturally sensitive, bicultural, bilingual, integrated approach. Among other achievements, upon completion of the Beck Depression Inventory – a rating inventory that measures characteristic attitudes and symptoms of depression – APT patients exhibited significantly fewer depressive symptoms at their final assessment than at their initial assessment, and those with scores of depression achieved a statistically and clinically relevant improvement at follow-up.

2014 Award for Improving Quality

This award recognizes activities that have improved the quality of care delivered, or reduced or eliminated harmful events to individual patients or groups of patients.

Winner: Boston Medical Center (BMC) (Boston) for Alarm Management Quality Improvement Project. A multidisciplinary telemetry task force at BMC developed this project to identify methods to reduce alarm fatigue by safely reducing the number of audible alarms that were clinically insignificant. As a pilot project, the strategy helped BMC reduce audible alarms per week by 89 percent and reduce noise levels from 90 decibels before the pilot to 72 decibels. No incident reports involving cardiac alarms occurred after the pilot’s implementation.

Honorable Mention: Jacobi Medical Center (Bronx, New York) for The Drive Toward Zero CAUTIs – Eliminating Harm. Led by a multidisciplinary work group, Jacobi conducted a rapid improvement event to eliminate catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs). The emergency department updated its criteria for insertion of urinary catheters, the hospital identified nurse and physician champions to drive and sustain change, and health care providers were educated about the importance of CAUTIs as a systemwide problem. As a result of the drive, the hospital reduced CAUTIs by more than 65 percent in the first three quarters of 2013, and reduced indwelling catheter days by more than 20 percent.

Honorable Mention: UK Healthcare (Lexington, Kentucky) for SWARMING to Improve Patient Safety and Increase Health Care Quality. UK Healthcare developed an internal process called SWARMING to help the hospital improve overall patient safety. A SWARM is initiated shortly after the occurrence of an adverse incident or undesirable event, and the people directly involved are empowered to “stop the line” when they observe a problem. Since instituting SWARMs in 2009, the hospital has experienced an overall reduction in the observed to expected mortality ratio from historically high levels of 1.5 to 0.7, as reported in December 2013.

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About America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading association and champion for hospitals dedicated to equitable, high-quality care for all, including those who face social and financial barriers to care. Since 1981, America’s Essential Hospitals has advanced policies and programs that promote health, health care access, and equity. We support our more than 300 members with advocacy, policy development, research, education, and leadership development. Communities depend on essential hospitals for care across the continuum, health care workforce training, research, public health and health equity, and other services. Essential hospitals innovate and adapt to lead all of health care toward better outcomes and value.

Carl Graziano

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