PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH) of Penn Medicine was named a winner of The Hospital and Health System Association of Pennsylvania’s (HAP) 2013 Achievement Award.

PAH was one of 19 hospitals recognized for innovative programs addressing critical and timely issues concerning:  patient satisfaction, workforce issues, public health and education, influenza, falls, infection prevention, mortality reduction, oxygen therapy, and disaster preparedness. Chosen from 131 hospital programs submitted from across the state, entries were evaluated by a 15-judge panel representing the public and private sectors and included leadership from the National Patient Safety Foundation, The Joint Commission, and The Patient Safety Authority.

On November 4th, HAP President Andy Carter visited PAH to personally present the award to Maria Vacca, RN, BSN, PCCN, CIC,  Diane Angelos, RN, MSN, and fellow winning team members for their Patient Safety entry, Prevention of Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection in a Neurological ICU Using a Proactive Approach to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Bundle.

“This award recognition confirms the commitment of our staff to quality and continuous improvement in the delivery of health care,” said Daniel M. Feinberg, MD, FAAN, chief medical officer of PAH. “It is a tremendous honor for Maria and Diane and the whole team. What they accomplished with this initiative is truly impressive.”

“Our initiative began over a year ago when it was identified that the Neurological Intensive Care Unit (NICU) had a significant increase in their Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI),” said Vacca. “Our idea was to stop reacting to infections after they occurred by taking a proactive approach to CAUTI prevention.”

In July of 2012, Vacca and her team began implementing weekly rounds on each patient in the NICU. They assessed specific criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control to prevent CAUTI. They then developed and refined a rounding tool for data collection and analysis to assist with weekly rounds. Findings were communicated via email to the health care team in real time and unit nurses were also educated in real time as issues were identified and resolved. The team utilized the rounding tool as a guide to assess patients, educate their peers, and collaborate with physicians and advanced practice providers to expedite the catheter removal process.

Over a nine month period from when the initiative began, the NICU went from an average CAUTI rate of nine percent per 1000 patient days – to zero – with an estimated direct cost savings of $40,000. The process, which has been successfully adopted by other clinical units at PAH, continues to evolve as the staff becomes more engaged in maintaining patient safety by preventing CAUTIs.

“We look forward to continue seeing positive results in our NICU and all Critical Care Units of the hospital where the rounding process has been adopted,” said Vacca. “We are extremely gratified by the results of our initiative and the positive impact it has had on patient care at Pennsylvania Hospital and we’re honored to be recognized by the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania.”

Additional team members involved in the award winning initiative are: Christopher Huot, BSN, RN, nurse manager, Critical Care; Paul Kinniry, MD, medical director, Medical Intensive Care Unit; Danielle C. Reynolds, MSN, RN, CPHQ, CNOR, Quality and Performance Improvement coordinator; Debra Runyan, BS, MT (ASCP), CIC, Director Infection Prevention; and the registered nurses of the PAH Neurological Intensive Care Unit.

HAP’s Achievement Awards program began in 1978 as a way to recognize the innovation of Pennsylvania's health care organizations. Details about the award winning programs are available online at

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.

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