Parkland Memorial Hospital, which developed a nationally known network of inner-city primary-care clinics in Dallas County, Texas, will receive the 1994 Foster G. McGaw Prize for excellence in community service.
The award, which includes $75,000 in prize money, is made annually by the American Hospital Association and the Baxter Foundation, a philanthropic arm of Baxter International, Deerfield, Ill. Hospitals are judged on their demonstrated commitment to community service and to expanding access to care.
Parkland, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, has been a model for other hospitals in developing a network of neighborhood clinics. Even so, it is one of the few urban hospitals going into hard-to-reach communities where transportation problems, poverty and language barriers hinder residents from receiving primary care (Nov. 8, 1993, p. 30; see related story, p. 68).
Parkland's program began in 1989, and has since expanded to eight centers. The hospital often used existing space. For example, in 1993, Methodist Hospitals of Dallas contributed one of its hospitals that was closing, Southeastern Methodist Hospital, to become a commu- nity center.
Parkland's chief executive officer, Ron Anderson, M.D., who has championed such national issues as patient dumping, is credited as the chief architect of the program. Dr. Anderson has been a crusader for the cost-effectiveness of preventive care, and his centers have provided a real-life example. They are estimated to save the hospital at least $2 million annually by treating patients in the clinics rather than in Parkland's emergency room. Hospital officials estimated that cost per visit at Parkland's outpatient clinics averages $126, compared with $49 at one of its neighborhood centers.
Patients also avoid the waits that had been typical at Parkland before the program was started.
The clinics are staffed by physicians who are faculty members of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Special efforts are made to ethnically match physicians with the populations served-about half the doctors are African-American and about half are women.
The neighborhood centers project is one of many programs Parkland has started to reach out to its constituency in innovative ways. Another is Home-less Outreach Medical Services, which consists of two medical vans that care for homeless residents. That program logs about 12,000 patient visits a year.
Other projects include a Sudden Infant Death Syndrome center that provides counseling; Project First Step, which provides health examinations, immunizations, and home visits to the medically indigent; a refugee outreach program that includes transportation and language assistance; and Healthy Tomorrows, a family-focused program that works to build parent-child relationships and self-esteem among young people.
The McGaw prize will be presented Aug. 8 at the AHA's convention in Dallas.
Other finalists for the 1994 prize were Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, Camden, N.J.; Memorial Hospital of South Bend, Ind.; and Day Kimball Hospital, Putnam, Conn. Each finalist will receive $10,000.