2017 Fine Awards for Teamwork Excellence in Health Care

Since 2008, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) has partnered with The Fine Foundation to recognize and reward teams that demonstrate exceptional performance around patient safety and quality improvement within their organizations. The 2017 Fine Awards recognize and provide a financial award to teams of professionals in western Pennsylvania that provide innovative, quality improvement-centered treatment for mental health and substance use problems.

Winners of the Fine Awards will also serve as mentors for JHF’s 2017 Patient Safety Fellowship, which provides an opportunity for multidisciplinary students in health-related fields to learn JHF’s Perfecting Patient CareSM (PPC) quality improvement method, and apply their new knowledge and skills in real-world healthcare settings.

“JHF and The Fine Foundation recognized two behavioral health crises that could not be ignored—an explosion of opioid dependence, and emergencies that strain a beleaguered mental health system that lacks sufficient human and capital resources to meet the need, particularly among adolescents,” says JHF President and CEO Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD. “We want to champion new care models that can quickly become the gold standard in addressing these crises, locally and nationally.”

The 2017 Fine Award winners were selected by a panel of independent judges following a request for applications from teams in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington, and Westmoreland counties. The winning teams were chosen based on their submitted project’s level of innovation, sustainability, and spread of best practices within and beyond their respective organizations.

The 2017 Fine Award winners are (project name in italics):

$20,000 Award Winners

  • Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Center for Inclusion HealthMedical Respite: Innovative Care to Vulnerable Populations. AHN’s Center for Inclusion Health created a post-acute care model that allows vulnerable individuals (including injection drug users and individuals lacking stable housing) to recuperate from serious illness in a residential environment while receiving home health care and social support services. During its first year (spring of 2016 to spring of 2017), the medical respite program is estimated to have diverted more than 700 inpatient days and saved nearly $400,000. Initially implemented at Allegheny General Hospital, the medical respite program has expanded to two additional AHN hospitals.
  • Prevention Point Pittsburgh (PPP)Overdose Prevention Project. PPP developed a training curriculum on how to prevent and respond to heroin and opioid overdoses, while also working to increase the availability of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. The training curriculum includes information on factors that raise the risk of an overdose, best practices in responding to an overdose, and proper techniques to administer naloxone. PPP educated its clients and other community stakeholders through its syringe exchange program, and also through partnerships with substance use disorder treatment centers, the Allegheny County Jail, and local medical and social service centers. In 2016, PPP provided training and free naloxone to more than 700 people, while documenting 450 overdose reversals.
  • UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care (Tie)Optimizing Behavioral Health Homes for Adults with Serious Mental Illness. The UPMC Center for High-Value Health Care tested a model to strengthen the capacity of community mental health centers to help patients with serious mental illness reach health and wellness goals. UPMC partnered with Community Care Behavioral Health (a behavioral health managed care organization) to pilot the model in local community mental health centers, with the goal of increasing patients’ self-management skills and engagement in primary and specialty care. The model trained case managers and peer specialists as health navigators. By the end of the project’s first year, 73% of participating providers felt confident in supporting patients’ health and wellness care (compared to 24% before implementation), and 96% felt confident in helping patients become self-directed in their care (0% prior). The model is now being used by more than 50 providers in the treatment of 7,500 patients.
  • Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) of UPMC (Tie)Peer Navigation Project: Embedding Peer Recovery Support in Acute Care Settings. WPIC developed a pilot project which trained peer navigators who help patients suffering from a substance use disorder transition to the next level of care and coordinate post-discharge care. The peer navigators (individuals who have been in stable recovery for at least two years) were deployed at three UPMC hospitals, with the goal of reducing repeat visits to acute care among high-utilization patients. In the nine months following implementation of the peer navigator model, inpatient discharges decreased by 42% (compared to the nine months before implementation) and emergency department visits declined by 18%. The peer navigator model was expanded to two additional UPMC hospitals.

Honorable Mention—$2,500 Award Winners

  • AHN Forbes Hospital—Failure to Rescue: Improving Healthcare Provider Recognition of Human Trafficking. To better recognize potential victims of human trafficking, Forbes Hospital developed a systematic screening process and training curriculum for hospital staff (including staff from the emergency department, various nursing units, labs, social services, registration, transportation, and security). The training curriculum is now being used by six additional AHN hospitals and has been shared with community partners, including emergency responders and schools.
  • Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS) of PittsburghRefugee and Immigrant Support Groups. JF&CS developed a peer-led, clinically-supervised support group model to better address the physical/behavioral health and social needs of the region’s growing immigrant and refugee population. More than 1,000 people from a dozen ethnic communities have participated in the program during its first three years (2014-17), with participants expressing greater confidence in accessing health care, employment and educational opportunities.