Moon Township, PA, (January 10, 2011)
–Heritage Valley Health System’s Staunton Clinic is the recipient of the 2010 Spirit of Excellence Award for Quality from Modern Healthcare and Sodexo Health Care Services. Heritage Valley received the award in recognition of the development and implementation of a proactive treatment protocol for bipolar patients that resulted in a decrease in emergency department visits, inpatient admissions and total days of inpatient hospitalization.
“We’re honored to be the recipient of this award that features the good work of our Staunton Clinic behavioral health staff,” said Dr. Daniel Brooks, vice president of Community Health Services at Heritage Valley Health System. “The highest quality patient care is Heritage Valley’s top priority and this project helped determine improvements in care for the bipolar clients we serve.”
The goal of the project developed by Heritage Valley Staunton Clinic was to provide proactive care to bipolar clients and intervene with more intensive care when patients appeared to be heading for a period of decompensation, or a period of emotional or mental health deterioration. Additional proactive protocols for intervention in care were implemented; the team, as well as clients and their families, were educated to recognize symptoms and warning signs of deterioration; clients identified as heading toward decompensation were seen by a psychiatrist within 72 hours; and clients received more frequent contacts and medication checks by Staunton Clinic staff.
The project was implemented in June 2009. After one year, program data showed a decrease of 40% in emergency department visits, a decrease of 62% in inpatient admissions and a 71% decrease in total inpatient days among bipolar patients seen through Heritage Valley Health System's Staunton Clinic.
“By implementing this proactive approach to the care of bipolar patients, we’ve been able to empower patients and their families with information on how to identify triggers, or warning signs, that an episode of the illness may occur,” said Michael Fortunato, Base Services Unit director at Heritage Valley Staunton Clinic. “Additionally, once the signs are recognized, the proactive protocol that Staunton Clinic follows enables us to intervene quickly and better serve the patient.”
There were 98 entries in the 2010 Spirit of Excellence Awards program which spotlights creative and innovative programs that support organizational excellence, patient satisfaction, customer service, employee satisfaction, commitment, and community participation. Modern Healthcare and an outside panel of judges recognize winners and honorable mentions in each of the five categories: Service, Quality, Community, Team, and CARES (compassion, accountability, respect, enthusiasm and service).