SMH Makes Honor Roll in Tipping Point Challenge

SMH Makes Honor Roll in Tipping Point Challenge

Friday, February 7, 2020

SARASOTA — Sarasota Memorial Hospital was among 95 organizations to receive national recognition for developing innovative programs and completing specialized training that is improving care for people living with serious illness.

The Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) announced on Wednesday the inaugural honor roll of the first John A. Hartford Foundation Tipping Point Challenge. A national innovation and quality improvement initiative sponsored by CAPC and the Hartford foundation, the challenge is the cornerstone of a five-year campaign aimed at creating a tipping point in the improvement of care delivered to millions of Americans living with a serious illness. More than 1,500 organizations participated.

Palliative Care Specialist Joelle Vlahakis, MD“Ours is a relatively small program, but growing steadily due to the incredible teamwork of our doctors and clinicians, and hospital-wide support for the practice of Palliative Medicine here at Sarasota Memorial Hospital,” said Joelle Vlahakis, MD, medical director of Sarasota Memorial Supportive Care Services.

SMH’s Supportive Care Services team includes board-certified palliative medicine doctors, specialty-trained nurses and others who provide patients with serious or prolonged illness an extra layer of support during their hospital stay. They collaborate with each patient’s team of healthcare providers — including primary care physicians and specialists such as oncologists, surgeons and cardiologists — to ensure customized care and treatment that is centered around what is important to the patient and his/her loved ones.

The goal of the first Tipping Point Challenge was to help healthcare organizations expand the ability to effectively care for seriously ill patients by enhancing skills among clinicians across a range of medical specialties. These include communication, pain management and symptom management skills directed at the complex needs of people living with serious illness. 

According to Diane E. Meier, MD, director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care, “The enthusiasm and heightened activity of healthcare organizations across the country to rapidly enhance skills that are not usually the focus of training in medical school, is a testament to the thirst and extraordinary need to improve the quality of care provided to people living with serious illness. The competition also shows a very productive collaboration between clinicians and their C-Suite leaders that energizes, inspires, and demonstrates high levels of leadership.”

From more than 1,500 participating healthcare organizations, 24 won the competition and 71, including SMH, achieved Honor Roll status. The next challenge will be announced in Spring 2020 and will focus specifically on the development of innovation.

About Sarasota Memorial
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of care, with more than 900,000 patient visits each year. Its flagship 839-bed, acute-care hospital has been consistently recognized as one of the nation’s largest and best, with superior patient outcomes and a complete continuum of outpatient services — from urgent care, trauma and emergency services to laboratory and diagnostic imaging, home health, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. SMH is the only hospital in Florida to have consistently earned the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ highest five-star quality rating since the evaluation system launched in 2016.  

About the Center to Advance Palliative Care
The Center to Advance Palliative Care is a national organization dedicated to increasing the availability of quality healthcare for people living with a serious illness. As the nation’s leading resource in its field, CAPC provides healthcare professionals and organizations with the training, tools and technical assistance necessary to effectively meet this need. CAPC is part of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. 

About The John A. Hartford Foundation
The John A. Hartford Foundation, based in New York City, is a private, nonpartisan, national philanthropy dedicated to improving the care of older adults. The leader in the field of aging and health, the foundation has three priority areas: creating age-friendly health systems, supporting family caregivers, and improving serious illness and end-of-life care.