Bill Aston 2023 Award Winner, Rural Hospital


Deaf Smith County Hospital District

Deaf Smith County Hospital District was awarded THA’s Bill Aston Award for Quality for its Community Paramedicine Program.

In March 2022, Deaf Smith County Hospital Districts (DSCHD) launched its Community Paramedicine Program to deliver post-hospitalization, in-home follow-up care and monitoring. This program was created for patients who have been discharged from the hospital but still require medical attention and monitoring to prevent readmission and ensure successful outcomes. The Community Paramedicine Program is a collaborative effort that includes a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals such as nurse practitioners, physicians, social workers, emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, and case managers. From March 2022 to March 2023, the Community Paramedicine Program had an average daily patient census of 5.5, delivering a total of 473 home visits.

The Community Paramedicine Program has three primary goals:

  1. Decrease preventable hospital readmission rates.
  2. Increase treatment plan compliance. Including medication adherence; and
  3. Addressing social and environmental factors that can inhibit recovery if not addressed.

DSCHD Community Paramedicine Program represents a significant advancement in the way health care is delivered. By focusing on in-home care, personalized treatment plans, and collaboration with a wide range of health care professionals and local services, the program effectively addresses the complex needs of patients’ post-hospitalization.

Deaf Smith DSCHD CP program
Deaf Smith Community Paramedic program

The emphasis on discharge planning from the point of hospital admission ensures a seamless transition from hospital to home care, with health care providers working closely with patients and their families to develop personalized care plans. These plans are designed to address not only medical needs but also social determinants of health such as nutrition, housing, and support systems.

Prior to initiation of the Community Paramedicine Program in March 2022, DSCHD’s readmission rate was 35 percent. Within 12 months, the readmission rate decreased to 5 percent, well below the state average of 14.9 percent. Since March 2023, DSCHD has had zero hospital readmissions.

In addition to decreased readmissions, emergency room visits among the Community Paramedicine Program participants also declined, an indication that patients are adhering to their treatment plans. The program monitors ER visits within three days of a community paramedicine visit, and DSCHD’s ER visit rate for participants is zero percent.

Please join us in congratulating Deaf Smith County Hospital District for being named the 2023 Bill Aston Award for Quality winner.

THA Bill Aston Award for Quality

The Texas Hospital Association Bill Aston Award for Quality honors hospitals’ measurable success in improving quality and patient outcomes through the sustained implementation of a national and/or state evidence-based patient care initiative.