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'Quiet Heroes' Work to Improve Healthcare in Florida as We Celebrate National Healthcare Quality Week

Orlando, FL - October 11, 2011

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Many ideas have been proposed to improve the quality of patient care in America. While this challenge continues to be a source of debate, legislation and lawsuits, quiet heroes, known as healthcare quality professionals, are working hard each day to make a difference for the people of Florida. Some of their efforts have recently been recognized by both state and national organizations, while others simply make life better without any fanfare, only the appreciation of the people whose lives are touched. As National Healthcare Quality Week, October 16-22, approaches, the Florida Association for Healthcare Quality (FAHQ) would like to share a snapshot of some of the healthcare initiatives which are helping to improve the level of healthcare in Florida. We are honored the State of Florida has joined in this acknowledgment with a Governor's Proclamation recognizing the work of healthcare quality professionals in Florida.

What follows is a small sampling of the ongoing initiatives to improve the quality of health and healthcare in Florida. Many examples show a growing emphasis on the health of the community, with organizations creating health fairs, seminars and screening programs geared to promote healthy living, wellness and early intervention, incorporated into settings and activities where they can reach the most people:

Baptist Health, South Florida sponsors a free Children's Health Day. Activities include free dental and asthma screenings, a Doll Clinic where children can bring their "sick" stuffed animals and dolls for a check-up and treatment, and information on eating right and exercising to prevent diabetes.

Haven Hospice created a camp, Camp Safe Haven, for children who have lost a loved one, to help deal with the emotional aftermath of the loss, and a support group for kids who are anticipating the loss of a loved one.

The Florida Hospital Association (FHA) is spearheading the Florida Surgical Care Initiative, in partnership with the Florida Chapter of the American College of Surgeons. The largest statewide surgical improvement initiative in the country, its goal is to help Florida hospitals improve surgical care and reduce complications.

Mayo Clinic has launched a community program in Jacksonville to raise awareness of breast cancer prevention techniques and screening methods among Hispanics, partnering with local churches to help deliver the programs.

Sanofi-Aventis funds a grant program to support nationally accomplished health care professionals to travel nation-wide, including to Florida, to help educate healthcare professionals on cutting edge trends and tools in healthcare quality

Lakeland Regional Medical Center launched Tee It Up for Men's Health, providing information on topics such as nutrition, prostate health, exercise, sexual health and colon care for men, built around a free round of golf.

USF and HCA have joined forces to create a series of trauma centers, adding five trauma centers in underserved areas of the state. This will not only improve timeliness of care, but the centers will share information to create a data base to track trends in the field to improve the management of trauma

Morton Plant Mease Girls' Night Out features free health screenings, demonstrations on health and wellness activities, entertainment, prizes and refreshments

Shands Jacksonville received the Florida Governor's Sterling Award in recognition of sustained excellence in healthcare quality. Award recipients must undergo rigorous evaluation to demonstrate performance excellence in seven areas.

The AHA-McKesson's Quest for Quality Award is a national award which recognizes a single hospital that has documented progress in achievement of all six aims of the Institute of Medicine (IOM): safety, patient-centeredness, effectiveness, efficiency, timeliness, and equity. This prestigious national award was presented in 2011 to Memorial Regional Hospital, Hollywood, and honors their leadership and innovation in quality improvement.

Excellence in intensive care: Eight Florida Hospitals have received the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence. This award goes to the top 1% of ICUs nation-wide based on patient outcome data on a wide variety of quality indicators. The Florida hospitals achieving this high standard of excellence are Baptist Hospital Miami, Bayfront Medical Center, Florida Hospital Orlando (3 year designation), James A Haley Veterans Hospital, Munroe Regional Medical Center (four time winner), St. Vincent's Medical Center, Tampa General (two time recipient), and Winter Park Memorial Hospital (3 year designation).

Claudia Jackson, President of FAHQ, commented: "We are graced in Florida by many organizations and healthcare professionals who are truly committed to providing high quality health care. They recognize the importance of patient engagement in the process, and are providing more outreach and support programs to increase knowledge of preventive care, healthy habits and the healthcare system, in an effort to empower the many people we care for. FAHQ applauds these quiet heroes in healthcare quality and patient safety, who work tirelessly to improve healthcare for all the people of Florida."

About FAHQThe Florida Association for Healthcare Quality is committed to developing, supporting and promoting professional expertise in healthcare quality. Its membership represents all healthcare practice settings and professions, united in the common goal of advancing Florida's healthcare quality. For further information, visit FAHQ on the web at .

SOURCE Florida Association for Healthcare Quality