With a hospital in Harlem, the NYC Health + Hospitals today announced that it’s been recognized by America’s Essential Hospitals in the 2021 Gage Awards. The public health system was recognized for its tele-palliative care during the first pandemic surge, where over 400 tele-palliative medicine volunteers were onboarded to help provide virtual palliative care during quarantine orders, and its High-Valued Care Initiative, which helps to eliminate unnecessary and potentially harmful testing and treatment of patients.
The public health system was awarded a 2021 Gage Award Spotlight in the category of COVID-19 Innovation for its tele-palliative work, and an Honorable Mention in the category of Quality for its High-Value Care Initiative.
America’s Essential Hospitals is a national trade association that represents more than 300 hospitals that care for low-income and other marginalized people. The association presented the award June 24 at its virtual annual conference.
“NYC Health + Hospitals is proud to be recognized by America’s Essential Hospitals, especially to receive recognition for our ongoing work to ensure all care provided to our patients are high-quality, streamlined, and enables a faster, safer recovery,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “Our public health system continues to challenge historical status quos in healthcare and our High-Value Care Initiative helps us fulfil this promise.”
“NYC Health + Hospitals is proud to be recognized by America’s Essential Hospitals, especially to receive recognition for the tireless and innovative work our healthcare heroes committed to during the horrible COVID-19 pandemic,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Chief Value Officer Hyung (Harry) Cho, MD. “Our public health system used every available resource to ensure no patient was overlooked during the pandemic, allowing us to keep our promise to New Yorkers and provide the most comprehensive, high-quality care regardless of the circumstances.”
During the first COVID-19 surge, NYC Health + Hospitals recruited 413 tele-palliative medical volunteers to consult at five of the system’s 11 hospitals virtually.
The volunteers, recruited over social media, consisted of physicians, chaplains, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, medical students, physician assistants and others.
The health system recruited volunteers across the country, mainly intensivists, hospitalists, and emergency medicine providers.
The medical volunteers connected with patients’ care team by either the palliative care team at the site or with the help of a hospitalist. Volunteers would talk to patients directly on the phone and document their discussions in its unified medical record system.
NYC Health + Hospitals also implemented guidelines through its High-Value Care Initiative to help physicians eliminate or reduce unnecessary and potentially harmful testing and treatment in patients.
The targets were chosen based on interdisciplinary council input, based on the guiding criteria of degree of evidence and potential to prevent patient harm.
Eight inpatient targets were selected: CK-MB (a test previously used to detect heart attacks), docusate (stool softener), amylase (used to test for inflammation of the pancreas), fecal occult blood test (a screening test for colon cancer), folate, prealbumin (a test for nutritional status), evening furosemide (a medicine that causes increased urination), and eliminating vital sign measurements at night.
Elimination of low value services remains a challenge in healthcare. It is estimated that 20 percent of all healthcare services are considered overuse or low-value care, costing an estimated $100 billion or more annually in the US. Furthermore, overuse leads to patient harm through many ways, including physical, psychological, financial, and dissatisfaction (or distrust) of health care.
The Gage Awards, named after association founder Larry Gage, honor and share successful and creative member hospital programs that improve patient care and meet community needs. Gage Awards in the COVID-19 Innovations category highlight innovative practices, projects, and programs related to the coronavirus pandemic. This temporary category captures creative solutions for the current or potential future pandemics within the hospital or in its community.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and acts of racial injustice that have marked the past year magnified the role of our hospitals as healing forces in their communities, both inside and outside the hospital walls,” said America’s Essential Hospitals President and CEO Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH. “We are proud to recognize NYC Health + Hospitals and our other awardees for their continued efforts to innovate with limited resources and during challenging times.”
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs.
A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals.
Its diverse workforce of more than 42,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible.