JPS Health Network Receives THA’s 2014 Bill Aston Award for Quality

(Austin – Jan. 23, 2015) – JPS Health Network is the Texas Hospital Association’s 2014 Bill Aston Award for Quality recipient in the academic/large teaching hospital/health care system category. The award recognizes the system’s work to reduce readmissions through the Discharge Management Improvement Project. It was presented Jan. 22 during the THA 2015 Annual Conference and Expo in Austin.

“Reducing readmissions is a national priority, and JPS Health Network has done an outstanding job of creating an innovative, research-based program that supports this goal,” said Ted Shaw, THA president/CEO. “I am pleased that THA can recognize the great work of JPS through the Bill Aston Award for Quality.”

“Mental health issues challenge every community,” said Robert Earley, president and CEO of JPS Health Network. “As a publicly supported health care system with our county’s only psychiatric emergency center, JPS has a duty to create programs to help our behavioral health patients maintain stability outside of a hospital setting. I am so proud of the innovative and compassionate team, led by Wayne Young and Dr. Alan Podawiltz, who created a discharge management program that is changing the quality of life for our mental health patients at high risk of readmission.”

By identifying high-risk patients and implementing personalized intervention strategies, JPS’ Discharge Management Improvement Project has lowered the readmission rate for high-risk patients from about 16 percent to 5 percent in less than a year.

The project began when JPS leaders discovered that too many of the approximately 4,000 patients who were discharged from Trinity Springs Pavilion, a 96-bed inpatient psychiatric facility, returned within 30 days. Many of the readmissions were a result of ineffective care transitions.

Team members identified patients at risk for readmission by interviewing patients who had been readmitted, manually reviewing 250 charts and completing a data analysis on more than 3,800 discharges. They then developed personalized transition intervention strategies. Some patients leave with medication in hand rather than a prescription. Others meet with a clinical pharmacist to better understand the medication regimen. Additional options include support calls from peer support specialists, home visits, or following up with the pharmacy to make sure the patient is getting prescriptions refilled.

“Realizing that every patient is unique, and every person’s circumstance is different, we did not feel like we would be successful if we said, ‘OK, here’s a list of the three things that everybody who is high risk is going to have done for them or with them,’” said Wayne Young, FACHE, senior vice president of behavioral services. “This system allows for some structure but still allows for customization to the individual, and it still has a framework under which we can operate.”



Lance Lunsford, vice president, strategic communications
Twitter: @lancelunsford

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Founded in 1930, the Texas Hospital Association is the leadership organization and principal advocate for the state’s hospitals and health care systems. Based in Austin, THA enhances its members’ abilities to improve accessibility, quality and cost-effectiveness of health care for all Texans. One of the largest hospital associations in the country, THA represents 452 of the state’s non-federal general and specialty hospitals and health care systems, which employ some 369,000 health care professionals statewide. Learn more about THA at or follow THA on Twitter at