Press ReleaseDate: 01-25-13
Name: Patti Verbanas Phone: 9739727273
University Correctional HealthCare Gains NJHA Excellence in Quality Improvement Award
UCHC, which provides mental health and physical healthcare services to all 24,000 inmates within 13 state-operated prisons across New Jersey, was selected for its program entitled, “How to Make Quality Improvement Everyone’s Business.” UCHC operates in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC).
The National Commission on Correctional HealthCare (NCCHC), which reviews the accreditation of UCHC every three years, noted in 2011 that “the UCHC QI program involves the early identification and resolution of problems by multidisciplinary teams in important areas of healthcare, including: access to care, intake processes, continuity of care, emergency care, hospitalizations and adverse events.”
The NCCHC commented further, “The NJDOC-UCHC healthcare system excels at performance and outcome measures, as well as self-evaluation, which is the hallmark of an efficient and effective system. We were impressed by the caliber and depth of the clinical and administrative research that is performed.”
In outlining the UCHC quality improvement effort, Jeff Dickert, PhD, Vice President, UCHC, said, “The purpose of our quality improvement program is to improve healthcare through monitoring and evaluating service delivery and to identify, analyze and correct problems impeding patient care. The strength of the UCHC quality improvement program results from leadership staff reinforcing the importance of efficient and effective service delivery. This occurs through weekly phone calls and data driven reports that review progress and highlight both positive and negative trends. Staff are encouraged to develop site specific projects that address relevant service delivery issues and their accomplishments are celebrated at an annual process improvement fair.”
UCHC’s quality improvement program is founded on the importance of clearly identifying areas needing improvement, substantiating those needs and developing goals and objectives.
The improvements that UCHC has achieved through this program in recent years include the following:
- Inmates’ complaints about mental health services decreased by 87% from 2004 to 2011;
- Among 400 individuals infected with HIV, the percentage of inmates with CD4 counts less than 200 fell from approximately 13% in 2009 to 7% in 2012. (CD4 cells are a type of white blood cell that fights infection.);
- Of 1,800 inmates with hyperlipidemia, 70% (up from 63%) showed improvements in LDL levels less than or equal to 130;
- For more than 2,400 inmates with hypertension, 89% showed significant improvement in achieving blood pressure levels of less than or equal to 140/90;
- Of the more than 1,100 inmates with diabetes, 59% (up from 53%) achieved HgA1C levels of less than or equal to 7.0;
- As a result of improvements in discharge planning and enhanced crisis services, referrals to the State’s forensic hospital dropped from 123 to 30 annually;
- Nursing overtime was reduced by about 15% in the past two years;
- The development of treatment guidelines and formulary controls reduced pharmaceutical expenses to 2007 levels.
Collectively, the improvements achieved in recent years have kept annual medical and mental health budgets to 2008 levels while improving health care outcomes.
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is the nation's largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 6,000 students attending three of the state’s medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health on five campuses. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, which provides a continuum of healthcare services with multiple locations throughout the state.