In honor of its broad-based efforts to improve the lives of the most vulnerable members of its community, Crozer-Keystone Health System in Delaware County, Pa. is the recipient of the 2013 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service, one of the most esteemed community service honors in healthcare.
Each year, this $100,000 prize is presented to a healthcare organization that provides innovative programs that significantly improve the health and well-being of its community. The Foster G. McGaw Prize is sponsored by The Baxter International Foundation, and the American Hospital Association (AHA) and Health Research & Educational Trust.
Named as finalists for this year's award and receiving $10,000 each are North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y.; Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, Texas; and St. Joseph Health, Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, Calif.
''Working with its community, Crozer-Keystone Health System's goal is to build a healthy place to live and work, and a sound environment in which to build and maintain a family,'' said John O'Brien, chair of the Foster G. McGaw Prize Committee. ''The system's exemplary community benefit programs address the entire lifespan - from programs that target the reduction of infant mortality to programs that support, educate and enable seniors to remain in their homes as long as possible. The main county that Crozer-Keystone serves has no county health department, making the system's leadership role in community health improvement of vital importance to vulnerable - and all - area residents.''
Crozer-Keystone Health System is a not-for-profit, community-based health system serving more than 550,000 individuals in Delaware County at its five hospitals, several outpatient centers, the Healthplex Sports Club and a comprehensive physician network of primary-care and specialty practices. With more than 6,800 employees, Crozer-Keystone is the largest employer in Delaware County, providing a full spectrum of wellness, prevention, acute care, rehabilitation and restorative care to communities where 35 percent of the population lives below the poverty level and more than 50 percent receive some form of government subsidy.
''For more than 20 years, Crozer-Keystone has worked to address the health needs of the residents of Delaware County,'' said Joan K. Richards, president and chief executive officer of Crozer-Keystone Health System. ''Through the efforts of many individuals, both inside and outside of our organization, we have been able to positively affect the health and well-being of thousands of people in our community. We are extremely proud that these efforts have been recognized with this prestigious award, particularly considering the excellent health systems from throughout the country who were nominated along with us.''
Among other programs, Crozer-Keystone was recognized for the following innovative community service initiatives:
Women and Children's Health Services - For more than 20 years, this program has worked in collaboration with health system departments and community partners to seek out and connect with poor, vulnerable and hard-to-reach women and families, providing health support services in an effort to improve maternal and birth outcomes, reduce infant mortality and morbidity, improve health literacy and health status and support early childhood growth and development. Through culturally and linguistically appropriate programs such as Crozer-Keystone Healthy Start, Crozer-Keystone Nurse Family Partnership, Delaware County Cribs for Kids and the Hispanic Resource Center, this initiative has significantly reduced the community rates of premature births, very low birth weights and infant deaths.
Asthma Management and Prevention - In 1999, Crozer-Keystone pediatricians conducting school physicals discovered that 24 percent of children in the Chester Upland school district experienced asthma - a rate that was nearly 2.5 times higher than the state's average. In response, Crozer-Keystone launched the Kid's Asthma Management Program, a school-based asthma intervention program providing asthma screenings, pulmonology referrals and asthma awareness and education efforts for students, parents and staff. In 2010, Crozer-Keystone also partnered with a local environmental organization to develop a home intervention and environmental remediation and education program to increase the asthma self-management skills and health literacy among children and their parents. The initiative helped reduce the frequency of children's asthma flare-ups and improve asthma control.
Crozer Wellness Center - An adolescent-focused primary care center for youth from puberty to age 22, this center also offers community-based youth leadership programs and initiatives focused on readying high school students for college. The center serves more than 100 youth each year in Chester, Pa., and has helped reduce youth violence and risky sexual behavior and has improved school attendance and on-time graduation rates. The center also provides leadership, advocacy and capacity-building on youth development issues in Chester.
Cancer prevention and early intervention - Implemented in 2003 and working collaboratively with 15 local organizations, Crozer-Keystone provides cancer awareness and prevention information, outreach and referrals to thousands of people annually. Separate but related programs target the uninsured and underinsured, allowing approximately 600 women each year to receive free screening mammograms and breast exams. A review of hospital data indicates a significant increase in early-stage diagnoses, as well as a drop in breast cancer mortality rates.
Senior Health Services - Launched in 2002, this initiative is focused on bridging the gap between inpatient and outpatient services, identifying gaps in care for older adults and their families and implementing services to extend independence and best meet the needs of Delaware County's aging community. The initiative's Care Transition Program has significantly reduced readmission of Medicaid patients to the health system's acute care hospitals. The Crozer-Keystone Village, launched in 2009, is an affordable membership program providing individual assistance via a personal navigator to help older adults schedule medical appointments, secure referrals and arrange transportation, personal care, housecleaning or meal preparation services.
''The Foster G. McGaw Prize recognizes healthcare organizations that serve as role models for improving the health and well-being of the people in their communities,'' said O'Brien. ''This year's winner and finalists embody the numerous ways health care organizations reach the distinct communities they serve. Through strong leadership, innovative partnerships, and unwavering commitment, these organizations provide a wide array of programs that make a positive difference in people's lives.''
Three Foster G. McGaw Prize finalists were also recognized for their significant accomplishments in community service. Each received a $10,000 prize:
North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y., for its ability to embrace partnerships within the diverse communities it serves, and empower people to take ownership of their own health and well-being.
Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston, Texas, for its efforts to advance the health of the people in Southeast Texas through trusted partnerships with physicians, employees and others to deliver the best possible health solutions while relentlessly pursuing quality and value.
St. Joseph Health, Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, Calif., for its commitment to extending its role far beyond the traditional medical model and dedicating itself to serve as a catalyst in promoting and safeguarding the health of its community.