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Parkland receives Excellence in Community Service Award from Texas Hospital Association

Monday April 28, 2014
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Parkland Health & Hospital System was named the recipient of the 2013 Excellence in Community Service Award from the Texas Hospital Association in recognition of the system’s outstanding accomplishments in providing healthcare services for the Dallas County Jail, according to a news release.

The announcement was made Feb. 13 at THA’s 2014 Annual Conference and Expo in San Antonio. The award recognizes Texas hospitals and health systems that have made a major contribution to
their community.

In its annual evaluation of Dallas County Jail services, the U.S. 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.”

“We believe caring for the jail population is a vital part of Parkland’s mission of service to the community,” Sharon Phillips, RN, Parkland’s executive vice president and chief administrative officer for population health, said in the release. “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.”

Parkland asked to step in and help

In 2006, the Dallas County Commissioners asked Parkland to step in and overhaul healthcare 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 healthcare 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.

Outcomes improve

Since Parkland took over the Dallas County Jail health program, outcomes have improved for inmates, the mortality rate has declined 80% and inpatient days have decreased 30%. Since 2010, the number of grievances has dropped 44%. Today, 98% of inmates are seen and 99% 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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