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Telepsychiatry Improves Outcomes in Frontier Communities Wins Premier Cares Award, Receives $100,000 for Its Telehealth Program

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 26, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Premier, Inc. (Nasdaq:PINC) has recognized Telepsychiatry Improves Outcomes in Frontier Communities with the 23rd annual Monroe E. Trout Premier Cares Award for providing access to mental health services to a remote population of at-risk patients. As part of the award, the program has received $100,000 from Premier.

The Cares Award, which is sponsored by Premier and its member hospitals, recognizes exemplary efforts by not-for-profit community organizations to improve the health of populations in need. Telepsychiatry Improves Outcomes in Frontier Communities, based in Orofino, Idaho, helps adult and pediatric psychiatric patients who lack access to care in this frontier region.

"Every year our Cares Award program honors six organizations that are helping to care for a medically underserved population in their community," said Susan DeVore, Premier's president and CEO. "Through its remarkable services to help some of the most at-risk patients, this year's Cares Award recipient – Telepsychiatry Improves Outcomes in Frontier Communities – is making a true impact by delivering psychiatry services using telehealth."

Representatives of Telepsychiatry Improves Outcomes in Frontier Communities accepted the Cares Award during Premier's annual Governance Education Conference that took place February 23-25.

This winning program is a collaboration with Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics and Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. Psychiatrists more than 200 miles away help treat patients in rural Orofino and neighboring St. Mary's Hospital in Cottonwood, Idaho. Patients travel only to their local doctor's office to see a psychiatrist hundreds of miles away.

Psychiatrists treating the patients are able to chart directly into the electronic medical record at local clinics, ensuring continuity of care despite the distance. Cost of care for those enrolled in the program has decreased by more than half. The program has received state and national recognition for its excellence and the care it is providing.

A panel of national healthcare leaders selects the Premier Cares Award winner and five finalists, all of which receive cash awards for use in further improving their programs. The Cares Award program spotlights community-based healthcare initiatives and helps other organizations learn to replicate the best practice programs by featuring information about them on the Cares Award website.

Following are this year's award finalists that received $24,000 from Premier.

Clinics Can Help – West Palm Beach, Florida: Established in 2005 by hospice nurse Owen O'Neill, Clinics Can Help provides gently used and new durable medical equipment to patients who may not otherwise be able to afford such expensive equipment for their physical recovery. Equipment is provided to patients in need regardless of their socioeconomic status. Items include traditional and motorized wheelchairs for adults and children, home hospital beds, medical air mattresses, walkers, nebulizers, shower chairs, bedside commodes, incontinent briefs and wound care supplies. This assistance is an integral component in helping patients heal, rehabilitate and recover from traumatic and chronic health conditions. Clinics Can Help has grown into a reputable not-for-profit agency that helps thousands of people annually. (https://clinicscanhelp.org)

Diabetes Wellness and Prevention – Asheville, North Carolina: The Diabetes Wellness and Prevention program was started by the YWCA of Asheville in 2004 to align fitness offerings with their mission of addressing health disparities among low-income and at-risk people. Based on a community health needs assessment, organizers learned that more than 11 percent of area residents had been diagnosed with diabetes and an additional 6 percent had been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. The program helps patients understand the disease process, promotes regular exercise and healthy eating, teaches participants to use their medications correctly, and helps patients manage their disease with appropriate and consistent lifestyle changes. Services are offered to many at no cost – including access to fitness facilities and personal training sessions. The program has helped significantly reduce blood sugar/A1c levels among those participating in the program. (http://www.ywcaofasheville.org)

Move With Balance® – Paia, Hawaii: Move With Balance began in 2005 as a regional project on the island of Maui, Hawaii, focused on preventing falls and fall-related injuries, and enhancing brain function and cognitive skills in the area's growing population of frail elders. Move With Balance is founded on two unique and innovative elements. The first is a sequence of activities and movements that not only help elders regain muscular confidence, but also sharpen elders' mental acuity. The second is the program delivery model based on volunteer mentors. In group settings, active seniors (ages 55 and up) work one-on-one with frail elders. These mentors are trained to adapt the activities in ways that both challenge and safeguard the mentees. Both parties benefit from the activities and social bonding. A study in June 2012 showed the program was 66 percent effective in reducing falls among those involved in the program. (http://www.movewithbalance.org)

Partners in Health Access Excellence – Shreveport, Louisiana: Partners in Health Access Excellence is a collaborative project between the Martin Luther King Health Center and Pharmacy and St. Luke's Episcopal Mobile Medical Ministry. The mobile medical clinic now serves the homeless and those considered medically disenfranchised in northwest Louisiana. Patients are adults who are primarily living below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Partners in Health Access Excellence brings medical care into the neighborhoods and communities where at-risk patients live and work. It serves as a primary care clinic and pharmacy, and the partnership with Martin Luther King Health Center has improved the rate of patients making needed appointments for follow-up care. PHAE has helped decrease emergency department visits among 96 percent of participants surveyed and has accounted for significant decreases in hospitalization rates.

Rainbow in My Tummy® – Asheville, North Carolina: Rainbow in My Tummy is a nutrition enrichment program created in 2008 by Verner Center for Early Learning in Asheville, North Carolina. Program staff work with early care and education care centers to provide training, coaching and resources needed to change the food culture surrounding children ages birth to kindergarten. Goals of the program include significantly increasing the quality of food served to young children and shifting preferences away from processed foods. Staff help increase nutritional literacy of children, families and early childhood caregivers. From 2012 to 2014 several Head Start centers in the Asheville area reported a significant drop in obesity rates among children as a result of the program. The program has helped numerous child care centers eliminate harmful ingredients from their menus, including high fructose corn syrup, MSG, caffeine and artificial sweeteners. (http://www.rainbowinmytummy.org)

About the Premier Cares Award

Premier has presented the Cares Award annually since 1991, when it was created by Dr. Monroe E. Trout, former CEO of American Healthcare Systems, one of Premier's heritage organizations. The program has provided more than $3 million to more than 100 organizations nationwide. The Cares Award winner receives a cash prize of $100,000, while five runners-up receive $24,000 each. The competition is open to not-for-profit organizations that have been in existence for more than two years, are providing creative solutions to health status improvement, can provide documentation of outcomes and impact on a specific population, and have programs that can be replicated in other communities.

About Premier, Inc.

Premier, Inc. (Nasdaq:PINC) is a leading healthcare improvement company, uniting an alliance of approximately 3,400 U.S. hospitals and 110,000 other providers to transform healthcare. With integrated data and analytics, collaboratives, supply chain solutions, and advisory and other services, Premier enables better care and outcomes at a lower cost. Premier, a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient, plays a critical role in the rapidly evolving healthcare industry, collaborating with members to co-develop long-term innovations that reinvent and improve the way care is delivered to patients nationwide. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Premier is passionate about transforming American healthcare. Please visit Premier's news and investor sites on www.premierinc.com; as well as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Foursquare and Premier's blog for more information about the company.

CONTACT:

Morgan Bridges, Premier, Inc.
morgan_bridges@premierinc.com;
704.816.4152

Heather McGhee, Premier, Inc.
heather_mcghee@premierinc.com;
704.816.5664

Source:Premier, Inc.