Parkland Gage Award
  1. National hospital association honors Parkland for COVID-19 work
  2. National hospital association honors Parkland for outstanding programs developed aiding those most at risk during COVID-19 pandemic

Special to The Dallas Examiner


Parkland Health & Hospital System received the 2021 Gage Award for COVID-19 Innovations for its innovative responses to the pandemic throughout 2020, targeting economically challenged, underserved communities and populations at elevated risk by America’s Essential Hospitals.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and acts of racial injustice that have marked the past year magnified the role of our hospitals as healing forces in their communities, both inside and outside the hospital walls,” said America’s Essential Hospitals President and CEO Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH. “We are proud to recognize Parkland and our other awardees for their continued efforts to innovate with limited resources and during challenging times.”

AEH, which represents more than 300 hospitals that care for low-income and other marginalized people, presented the award June 24 at its virtual annual conference.

“We are extremely honored to be recognized by America’s Essential Hospitals for the vital work performed by Parkland staff to provide COVID-19 testing, education, outreach and other innovative programs to assist those most at risk in our community,” said Roberto de la Cruz, MD, chief clinical officer.

“Through our partnership with the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, we rapidly developed and deployed new technologies that enabled us to respond in real time to a rapidly evolving health threat in the community. From the caregivers in the Tactical Care Unit at Parkland Memorial Hospital to the staff of the Correctional Health team, thousands of Parkland employees have taken part in our COVID-19 response. The combined talents and selfless efforts of Parkland’s entire staff – nurses, physicians, IT technicians, administrators and many other specialists – have helped save lives and alleviate suffering. The challenge is not over and we continue to fight this virus by vaccinating everyone who is eligible and meeting the needs of our community.”

Parkland COVID-19 initiatives included:

  • Providing 50% of all Dallas County testing, using mobile teams strategically flexed as needed
  • Developed advanced analytic tools enabling Dallas County to monitor and respond to confirmed cases and individual predictive risk scores that include comorbidities and social determinants of health
  • Developed person-centric technologies (texting, email, patient portal systems)
  • Community outreach, messaging and media campaigns providing vital COVID-19 education
  • Expanded virtual health
  • Leveraging COVID testing service for flu vaccine administration
  • Remote device monitoring – pulse oximetry home quarantine kits for emergency room discharges.

As a result, from February through December 2020, 750,000-plus patient visits and over 200,000 unique patients were screened with highly accurate analytic systems flagging more than 15,000 patient visits and over 10,000+ unique patients as high-risk and initiating care and outreach, identifying 34,500-plus COVID-positive patients. More than 200,000 tests were performed at drive-thru locations at Parkland hospital and primary care centers, two community mega centers, three walk-up locations, and mobile outreach at nursing homes and homeless shelters. New technologies streamlined clinical communication, enabling patient notification about infection risk, symptom tracking, navigating care, result notification and contact tracing. Parkland converted one-third of all visits to virtual platforms. A comprehensive community outreach program provided support for medical needs and social services.

The awards, named after association founder Larry Gage, honor and share successful and creative member hospital programs that improve patient care and meet community needs. The award’s COVID-19 Innovations category highlight innovative practices, projects, and programs related to the coronavirus pandemic. This temporary category captures creative solutions for the current or potential future pandemics within the hospital or in its community.

Mollie Finch Belt is the Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of The Dallas Examiner. She attended elementary school in Tuskegee, Ala.; Cambridge, Mass.; and Dallas, Texas. In 1961, she graduated from...

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