Press Release

Hospitals Honored for Improving Community Health

The American Hospital Association (AHA) announced today that it will honor five programs for their hospital-led collaborative efforts that improve community health, awarding them the AHA NOVA Award.  The awards will be given at a July 24 ceremony during the association's annual Health Forum Leadership Summit in San Diego.  The winning programs are the Community-Based Alternatives to the Emergency Room in Fort Myers, Fla., Health-e-Access Telemedicine in Rochester, N.Y., Healthy Futures in Traverse City, Mich., Healthy San Francisco, San Francisco, Calif., and the Pediatric Asthma Program in Chicago, Ill.

"This year's AHA NOVA Award winners showcase the power of collaboration and the positive community health changes that can be made when organizations work together," said AHA president and CEO, Rich Umbdenstock. "From telemedicine for children to creating a coverage network for uninsured adults, the hospitals leading these programs have successfully met common health challenges by partnering with the community."

Established in 1993, the AHA NOVA Award recognizes hospitals and health systems for their collaborative efforts toward improving community health. Descriptions of the 2010 winning programs and hospital partners are listed below:

Community-Based Alternatives to the Emergency Room
Lee Memorial Health System - Fort Myers, Fla.
The community-based system of emergency room alternatives targets individuals in need of behavioral health and primary care treatments - both areas identified by the community as top priorities.  Lee County Behavioral Triage Center/Low Demand Shelter provides care for individuals exhibiting symptoms of mental illness or intoxication and offers a viable alternative to incarceration or hospitalization.  In addition, patients receive appropriate treatment referrals.  Dunbar and East United Way Houses fill immediate intervention and longer-term support needs providing a one-stop source for primary care, social services and case management.

Health-e-Access Telemedicine
University of Rochester Medical Center
- Rochester, N.Y.
Providing health care for children when and where they need it, the program uses a web-based telemedicine system to connect children in childcare, school or family service agencies to a physician or nurse practitioner who is part of the child's primary care medical home.  Special devices for patient examination allow providers to perform remote diagnosis and consultation.  There are currently 23 community-based sites with four sites open after hours as well as mobile units and teledentistry. The program's goal is to increase access to quality health care for the community's medically underserved children, decrease middle-of-the-night emergency department visits for minor ailments, reduce urgent care center visits with treatment provided by unfamiliar doctors, and reduce parents' time off work due to a child's illness while in childcare.

Healthy Futures
Munson Healthcare System - Traverse City, Mich.
Healthy Futures is a partnership of more than 100 area health care providers, four district and country health departments and three hospitals.  Its goal is to ensure that every expectant mother and child under age two-regardless of income-in the seven-county service area has everything they need for a healthy beginning including access to health care, breastfeeding support and education, immunizations, individualized education and support services.  A public-health registered nurse works with families through phone or home visits to provide risk assessment, referral for medical care or social services, one-on-one lactation education and support, education on child development, and help with postpartum self-care.  An emergency "immediate needs" fund assists families in crisis situations.

Healthy San Francisco
San Francisco General Hospital, University of California Medical Center, Chinese Hospital, California Pacific Medical Center, Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, St. Mary's Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente - San Francisco, Calif.
Healthy San Francisco provides universal, comprehensive, affordable health care to uninsured adults.  Currently, 81 percent of the city's adult uninsured population, roughly 49,000 individuals, is voluntarily enrolled in the program.  Its vision is to connect every uninsured San Franciscan to a primary care home and to create a comprehensive array of services available throughout a coordinated network of care.  The public-private partnership includes all of the city's non-profit hospitals and is administered and overseen by the San Francisco Department of Public Health.  The San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium's 13 clinic sites act as primary care medical homes.  Funding comes from public funding, employer contributions and participant fees.

Pediatric Asthma Program
Sinai Health System
- Chicago, Ill.
Sinai Children's Hospital and the Sinai Urban Health Institute partner with other organizations in a pediatric asthma program to reduce the frequency and impact of childhood asthma.  Evidence-based interventions improve child and family knowledge about asthma, build caregiver confidence in their ability to manage a child's asthma, reduce asthma triggers in the home and environment, and improve children's medical management.  Prevention and education efforts are systematically evaluated for family and child outcomes and on cost savings. 

About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at

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