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Hospital Association Recognizes Five Members for Quality, Population Health


WASHINGTON — America’s Essential Hospitals, whose more than 300 members care for low-income Americans and others in need, today recognized five member hospitals and health systems for outstanding work to improve health care quality and population health.

The association announced the 2017 Gage Award winners at its annual conference, VITAL2017, in Chicago. Named for association founder Larry Gage, the awards honor creative and successful programs that enhance patient care and meet community needs.

“Essential hospitals are at the forefront of solving critical health care challenges,” said America’s Essential Hospitals President and CEO Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH. “Our Gage Award winners serve as innovative leaders, forward thinkers, and true pillars in their communities.”

2017 Award for Population Health

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

Winner: Memorial Healthcare System, Hollywood, Florida

To help youth and young adults transition out of foster care, Memorial Healthcare System launched the Healthy Youth Transitions program. Life coaches help participants ages 15 to 22 develop job skills, make educational progress, and obtain stable housing.

“We are honored to receive this award in recognition for the work we are doing to positively impact the lives of the patients we serve, our industry, and the future of health care,” said Memorial Healthcare System President and CEO Aurelio Fernandez III. “This recognition speaks to our focus on patient care, which leads to improved quality, efficiency, and overall better outcomes.”

Winner: Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS), Spartanburg, South Carolina

The AccessHealth Spartanburg (AHS) program connects uninsured residents living at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level to a medical home and network of donated care. Supported by a community partnership of more than 40 agencies, AHS since its launch in 2010 has reduced emergency department, inpatient, and charity care costs and decreased hospital admissions.

“We are so honored to receive the prestigious Gage Award because it recognizes the tremendous work being done in our community to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens have an equal opportunity to be as healthy as possible,” said Renée Buyck Romberger, SRHS vice president of community health policy and strategy. “AccessHealth Spartanburg is privileged to share this award with all our community partners who have worked so hard to ensure that every citizen has access to quality health care, with the goal of improved health and reduced health care costs for all our citizens.”

Honorable Mention: The University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital (UAB Hospital), Birmingham, Alabama

UAB Hospital opened a transitional care clinic inside the hospital to serve as a medical home for uninsured heart failure patients without a primary care provider. Since 2014, the program has decreased patient costs and reduced the 30-day hospital readmission rate from 20 percent to 6.7 percent.

“We are proud that this program was recognized for its strategic alignment of hospital nursing, the school of nursing, and our community partners to provide the best care for our patients,” said UAB Medicine Senior Vice President of Inpatient Services Anthony Patterson, RN, MSHA. “This project reflects the dedication and commitment our staff and faculty have for our patients and demonstrates the importance of UAB Medicine assuming a leadership role to bring different partners together to benefit the community.”

2017 Award for Improving Quality

This award recognizes activities to improve the quality of care delivered or work to eliminate events that harm individual patients or groups of patients.

Winner: NYC Health + Hospitals (NYC H+H), New York

Under the New York State Hospital Medical Home Demonstration Project, NYC H+H began universal depression screening for adults and implemented collaborative care for depression in the primary care setting. Following the intervention, NYC H+H saw an increase in consultation and treatment for depression and an increase in the patient improvement rate.

“This award is welcome validation of our important work to integrate the screening and treatment for depression into the primary care setting,” said NYC H+H Interim President and CEO Stanley Brezenoff. “Public health systems can and must play a leadership role in advancing population health and quality improvement initiatives like this across the country.”

Honorable Mention: The University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital (UAB Hospital), Birmingham, Alabama

UAB Hospital’s Golden Week Program educated staff to improve care and outcomes of premature infants born at gestational ages younger than 28 weeks. In the eight weeks after starting the program, the rate of severe intraventricular hemorrhage in the first week of life fell from 20.4 percent to 10.3 percent.

“The Golden Week Program shows promising results for preterm infants. We are honored that this program, developed by a collaborative multidisciplinary team, is receiving this recognition,” said UAB Medicine Senior Vice President of Inpatient Services Anthony Patterson, RN, MSHA. “The Golden Week Program demonstrates UAB Medicine’s dedication to the highest quality patient care for all of our patients.”

Honorable Mention: Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG), San Francisco

ZSFG improved access to specialty care clinics by developing a clinical dashboard for physicians and nursing leadership. Over three years, ZSFG clinics effectively decreased the third next available appointment (TNAA) time — a measure for the length of time between requesting an appointment and getting one.

“As San Francisco’s public acute care hospital and only level I trauma center, we serve the city’s people in a vital and unique way,” said ZSFG CEO Susan Ehrlich, MD. “We are proud our hard work has received this recognition.”

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About America’s Essential Hospitals

America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading association and champion for hospitals and health systems dedicated to high-quality care for all, including the vulnerable. Since 1981, America’s Essential Hospitals has initiated, advanced, and preserved programs and policies that help these hospitals ensure access to care. We support members with advocacy, policy development, research, and education.

Our more than 300 members are vital to their communities, providing primary care through trauma care, disaster response, health professional training, research, public health programs, and other services. They innovate and adapt to lead the broader health care community toward more effective and efficient care. Learn more at

Carl Graziano


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Dedicated staff at America's Essential Hospitals work together to produce high-quality, reliable content. Please view the about section for more details about staff.

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