Parkland receives 2013 Excellence in Community Service Award from Texas Hospital Association
Recognizes improvements to Dallas County Jail health program
February 17, 2014
DALLAS – Parkland Health & Hospital System was named the recipient of the 2013 Excellence in Community Service Award from Texas Hospital Association (THA) in recognition of the system's outstanding accomplishments in providing healthcare services for the Dallas County Jail. The announcement was made Feb. 13 at THA's 2014 Annual Conference and Expo held in San Antonio. The award recognizes Texas hospitals and health systems that have made a major contribution to their community. Parkland also received the award in 2001 for its Community Oriented Primary Care program.
"Parkland Health & Hospital System has created a center of excellence in the nation's seventh-largest county jail and consistently delivers high quality physical and behavioral health care services to the population of inmates," said Ted Shaw, THA president and chief executive officer. "The complexity of providing care in any environment is daunting, and the leadership and staff at Parkland deserve high praise for facing off with such a challenging endeavor."
In its annual evaluation of Dallas County Jail services, the Department of Justice reported in September 2013, "There has been continued progress in the medical program. In all areas, improved quality and process self-monitoring has characterized the program's operational philosophy."
Sharon Phillips, RN, Parkland's executive vice president and chief administrative officer for population health, stated, "We are extremely honored by this award from THA. Our entire staff is committed to providing excellent health care to all patients and we believe caring for the jail population is a vital part of Parkland's mission of service to the community. The strong relationship Parkland has formed with the Dallas County Sheriff's Department and the County Commissioners Court has been vital in our efforts to create the center of excellence. This is definitely a team effort."
In 2006, the Dallas County Commissioners asked Parkland to step in and overhaul health care in the jail that includes both adult and juvenile correction facilities serving nearly 120,000 patients each year. The Dallas County Jail System was known to have serious lapses in its medical care of inmates and had received numerous citations from the U.S. Justice Department and Texas Commission on Jail Standards.
Parkland moved quickly to improve conditions, updating electronic information systems, revising medical delivery procedures and instituting more thorough health screening processes. Approximately half of the jail's inmates are identified at admission with either a mental health or medical diagnosis, such as diabetes, HIV or hypertension. Many have not received adequate health care prior to incarceration. Twenty-six areas were retrofitted for medical care, allowing for an on-site pharmacy, staff training and conference areas. Staff was increased from 121 to 345. New programs were created to provide medical and psychiatric assessments, OB/GYN and dental services, infectious disease management and suicide prevention.
Since Parkland took over the Dallas County Jail health program, outcomes have improved for inmates, the mortality rate has declined 80 percent, and inpatient days have decreased 30 percent. Since 2010, the number of grievances has dropped 44 percent and today 98 percent of inmates are seen and 99 percent receive critical medications within 24 hours. A new three-level, 280-bed medical and mental health infirmary is scheduled to open in 2014.
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