National Award for Serving Community Health Needs
Allegiance Health announced that it has been recognized by VHA, Inc. as one of two health systems in the country for its excellence in community service.
Health Improvement Organization Work Honored
VHA, Inc., a national network of 1,350 not-for-profit health care organizations, selected Allegiance Health as one of two organizations in the country to receive its 2012 VHA Leadership Award for Community Benefit Excellence. The award, announced at VHA’s annual conference in Denver on Sunday, “applauds organizations for their exceptional focus and dedication to providing quality care that benefits their communities, despite the reality of decreasing reimbursements and shrinking budgets,” said Michael Regier, senior vice president of legal and corporate affairs and general counsel for VHA.
The award focuses on three areas:
- Demonstration of a comprehensive community benefit strategy
- Highlighting a “best of class” community benefit program
- Providing an effective communication plan to tell the community benefit story
Allegiance Health’s “best in class” featured program was started in 2003 in collaboration with the Jackson County Health Department. The Jackson Prenatal Task Force works to reduce the number of infants who die annually from preventable causes. “Evidence shows that infant mortality rate is a reflection of the overall health of the community,“ said Georgia Fojtasek, president and CEO of Allegiance Health. “This award is very meaningful to us. It recognizes that many infant lives in Jackson are saved each year because of the collaboration of health providers across the county.” Today, more than 15 community organizations partner with Allegiance and the Health Department as part of the Jackson Prenatal Task Force.
Infant Lives Saved
According to Michigan Department of Community Health statistics, infant mortality rates in Jackson County decreased 69 percent between 2005 and 2010. For many years, Jackson County infant mortality rates were higher than state and national rates. Through the success of the Jackson Prenatal Task Force, Jackson County rates are now lower than rates for the U.S. and Michigan. “These results are dramatic and show the potential of what can be achieved when Jackson organizations come together for the health of the community,” said Amy Schultz, MD, director of prevention and community health at Allegiance and medical director of the Jackson County Health Department.