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Hospital Association Honors Four Members for Quality Improvement, Population Health


WASHINGTON — America’s Essential Hospitals, whose 300 members care for the vulnerable and keep communities healthy, today honored four member hospitals and health systems for outstanding work to improve health care quality and population health.

The association announced the 2020 Gage Award winners at its annual meeting, VITAL2020, held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Named for association founder Larry Gage, the awards recognize creative and successful programs that improve patient care and serve community needs.

“Our hospitals’ work to improve quality and reach outside their walls to build population health has never been more important than now, as COVID-19 amplifies disparities in the communities they serve,” said America’s Essential Hospitals President and CEO Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH. “Our Gage Award recipients are true leaders in both.”

2020 Award for Quality

This award recognizes activities to improve the quality of care or that mitigate threats to patient safety.

Winner: University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System (UI Health), Chicago

UI Health, which is part of the University of Illinois Chicago, in 2015 launched a multidisciplinary joint replacement quality improvement program that undertook eight interventions, including a required preoperative education class; a preoperative checklist; and efforts to support earlier, more effective mobility in patients. Since starting the program, patient preoperative education increased from 10 to 100 percent; patient satisfaction related to physician communication, pain management, and discharge information increased by more than 80 percent; and venous thromboembolism rates decreased from 32.6 percent to zero percent.

“We are proud to be recognized by America’s Essential Hospitals and accept this prestigious award, which represents the tireless efforts of a multidisciplinary team of providers and leaders across our organization,” said Paul Gorski, MPH, senior director of clinical services and integration and operations officer at UI Health. “At UI Health, we are committed to continuous improvement and innovation to provide our patients with better outcomes and quality of life.”

Honorable Mention: Parkland Health & Hospital System, Dallas

Although penicillin allergy is the most reported drug allergy nationwide, approximately 90 percent of history-positive patients actually tolerate penicillin. Patients who report a penicillin allergy receive higher doses of other antibiotics and have higher health care–associated infection rates. Through a section 1115 Medicaid waiver, Parkland trained pharmacists to work with allergists to conduct penicillin allergy testing. In four years, Parkland tested 961 patients compared with 22 patients the four years prior; of these patients, 92.5 percent were allergy free.

“This program provides an innovative and easy-to-implement approach to improve patient safety and lower costs,” said Fred Cerise, MD, MPH, president and CEO of Parkland Health & Hospital System. “Beyond its impact at Parkland, the program is an important contribution for the entire health care sector searching for strategies to reduce antibiotic resistance. We are proud to see this work recognized by the Gage Awards.”

2020 Award for Population Health

This award recognizes activities focused on social determinants of health, such as food insecurity, homelessness, language barriers, and other socioeconomic factors.

Winner: Henry Ford Health System, Detroit

To mitigate food insecurity in Southeast Michigan, Henry Ford Health System partnered with Gleaners Community Food Bank to launch a supplemental food delivery program. Henry’s Groceries for Health provided groceries to vulnerable patients screened at four Henry Ford Medical Group clinics. The program recruited 340 food-insecure patients, 276 of which remained in the program for the full 12 months. Each participant received a starter kit of staples and biweekly food boxes that included enough food for 10 supplemental meals. Within 12 months, emergency department visits for the intervention group declined 42 percent, and hospitalizations declined 56 percent.

“I’m delighted and humbled to accept this Gage Award on behalf of Henry Ford Health System and Gleaners Community Food Bank,” said Susan Hawkins, MBA, senior vice president of population health at Henry Ford Health System. “Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to see increasing rates of food insecurity in the community and among our patients, and, as we anticipate a potential surge in the fall, programs like Henry’s Groceries for Health will become even more critical.”

Honorable Mention: Temple University Health System, Philadelphia

Temple established a hub-and-spoke model to care for patients with opioid use disorder in an office-based opioid treatment program setting. The health system collaborated with the city of Philadelphia, the state of Pennsylvania, and various community-based organizations to integrate behavioral health care with physical health care while addressing social determinants of health. The hub increased capacity to see new patients by 267 percent; the spoke locations increased ability to see new patients by 83 percent. Further, newly established protocols for emergency departments and crisis response centers improved warm hand-offs — care transfers conducted in front of the patient and their family — by 20 percent.

“At Temple University Health System, we’ve seen firsthand the impact that opioid use disorder has on our community,” said Michael Young, MHA, president and CEO of Temple University Health System and Temple University Hospital. “Since the start of this initiative, capacity at hub and spoke locations has increased, warm hand-offs have improved, and more providers have received training. Most importantly, the number of patients who’ve received treatment has grown.”

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About America’s Essential Hospitals

America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the most vulnerable. We support our 300 members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education. Communities depend on essential hospitals to provide specialized, lifesaving services; train the health care workforce; advance public health and health equity; and coordinate care. Essential hospitals innovate and adapt to lead the way to more effective and efficient care. Learn more at

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