Hospitals Honored for Improving Community Health 2017

The American Hospital Association (AHA) today announced that it will honor five programs for their hospital-led collaborative efforts that improve community health, awarding them the AHA NOVA Award.

Press Release

Hospitals Honored for Improving Community Health

The American Hospital Association (AHA) today announced 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 July 29 at a ceremony during the AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego. The winning programs are Palmetto Health’s Dental Health Initiative in Columbia, S.C.; Memorial Healthcare System’s Healthy Youth Transitionsin Hollywood, Fla.; CHI St. Gabriel’s Health’s Morrison County Community-Based Care Coordination in Little Falls, Minn.; he Health and Wellness Alliance for Children Asthma Collaboration at Children’s Healthin Dallas, TX; and Norwegian American Hospital’s Pediatric Care-A-Van in Chicago.

“Hospitals care not only for patients, but also move beyond their four walls to work tirelessly with community groups and organizations to offer care in the community,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “The programs recognized by this year’s AHA NOVA Award inspire us all with their collaborative, caring approach to improving community health and wellness.”

Established in 1993, the AHA NOVA Award recognizes hospitals and health systems for their collaborative efforts toward improving community health. The 2017 winning programs and hospital partners are:

Palmetto Health Dental Health Initiative

Palmetto Health – Columbia, S.C.

Palmetto Health’s Dental Health Initiative began in 2009 with an overall goal to reduce dental-related visits to the emergency department and to redirect patients to a dental home. An additional goal included providing access to dental care to the most vulnerable of populations, including low-income, uninsured, and at-risk populations (pregnant women, HIV+/AIDS patients). The hospital collaborated with local dentists to provide an alternative to the emergency department. Partnerships with area hospitals, medical facilities, and city and local organizations helped form a freestanding medical home. This provides a “home” for individuals in need of dental and vision care, along with access to primary medical needs. More than $3.1 million in dental services have been provided to more than 35,500 patients.

Healthy Youth Transitions

Memorial Healthcare System – Hollywood, Fla.

Healthy Youth Transitions helps area youth and young adults ages 15 to 22 transition from the foster care system into productive young adulthood by learning how to handle adult responsibilities. A Life Coach is assigned to each young person to help him or her navigate the details and logistics of daily living, taking care of their health, social relationships, positive peer relationships, education, money management, career planning, and work life.

For 18 years, Memorial Healthcare System’s Community Youth Services has partnered with almost 30 other community-based organizations using a targeted approach to tailor programs and services to meet the needs of each individual it serves, using evidence-based prevention and early intervention and treatment to help children and families. CYS has provided crucial no-cost, grant-funded resources to 185,000 young people and their families as they cope with crime, domestic issues, pregnancy, mental health and substance-abuse issues since 1999.

Morrison County Community-Based Care Coordination

CHI St. Gabriel’s Health – Little Falls, Minn.

The Morrison County Community-Based Care Coordination program takes an innovative approach to reduce opioid overuse and abuse and help patients struggling with opioid addiction. In 2014, CHI St. Gabriel’s Health emergency department (ED) data revealed the top reason patients were visiting the ED was for narcotics to manage chronic pain. In addition, family practice providers noticed substantial narcotic refill requests and other narcotic-seeking behavior. In less than a year, the opioid crisis would explode across the nation – often in rural areas like the Morrison County. Hospital leadership took notice and decided a community-integrated care model would be the best approach. After being awarded a $368,112 grant, the hospital created a controlled substance care team comprised of physicians, a nurse navigator, a social worker, a pharmacist, and eventually, a mental health care coordinator. The team utilized a multi-disciplinary approach to ensure all aspects of opioid abuse and addiction were addressed. After identifying a gap in treatment options for opioid abuse disorder, the physicians became certified to provide medication-assisted treatment, establishing a suboxone program. Through a collaborative partnership with many community stakeholders, this initiative is seeing positive outcomes, including a 20% reduction of controlled substance units filled at one local pharmacy in the first year. Drug seeking completely fell off ED’s Top 20 list. Over 250 patients have been tapered off narcotics and other controlled substances, a reduction of almost 200,000 controlled substance units and nearly $1.4 million in annual savings.

The Health and Wellness Alliance for Children Asthma Collaboration

Children’s Health – Dallas

The Health and Wellness Alliance Asthma Collaboration is a partnership between Children’s Health System of Texas and local stakeholders to help improve the health status of the community’s children. Asthma affects more than 60,000 children in Dallas County, with direct medical costs and indirect downstream costs to county taxpayers estimated at more than $60 million a year. Using feedback from affected families, the Alliance created an Asthma Wellness Equation to depict the various elements of the chronic condition. From there, a series of work groups were implemented to address each component of the equation, helping area children with asthma in many different ways. As a result of the strategies, the number of patients visiting the Children’s Health System of Texas emergency department decreased by 49% from 2012 to 2016.

Pediatric Care-A-Van

Norwegian American Hospital – Chicago

The Pediatric Care-A-Van is a state of the art mobile clinic that provides preventive care – including physicals, immunizations and screenings for lead, hemoglobin, hearing and vision – to local underserved children in a partnership with Chicago Public Schools. In response to community needs and public health priorities, health education is also included in patient visits according to the specific needs of each patient. When parents are present for the visit, they are included in the educational discussions and are informed of health insurance options. The services are free and provided at various school sites according to an established schedule, as well as at preschools, day care centers and other community locations. The Care-A-Van has served more 3,000 children a year across 80 public schools.

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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