Wishard Health Services Earns National Recognition at NAPH 2012 Annual Conference

Contact: Todd Harper
Phone: 317-630-7808
Pager: 317-310-5972

Indianapolis, June 22, 2012 -- Wishard Health Services has received an honorable mention in the 2012 Gage Award category of Improving Population Health for its innovative Wishard Volunteer Advocates Program (WVAP). Wishard was honored with this award during the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems (NAPH) annual conference, June 20 to 22, in San Francisco.

The NAPH Gage Awards Program – named after NAPH founder and safety net advocate Larry S. Gage – honors and shares the outstanding work of NAPH members. Winners are recognized for innovations that improve community health and save money and that can be replicated in organizations across the country.

"We are grateful to NAPH for this tremendous honor recognizing the Wishard Volunteer Advocates Program and the committed group of volunteers who act as "last resort" guardians for our most vulnerable patients," said Lisa E. Harris, M.D., CEO and medical director for Wishard Health Services. “This model of intervention has proven very effective for patients who are ill, unbefriended, and cannot advocate in their own best interest."

Wishard developed WVAP to address an unmet community need for guardianship programs for ill and at-risk adults and seniors who have no family or close friends to turn to and who are incapable of advocating for their own health care. Authorized by Indiana law, the WVAP recruits, trains, and supervises volunteer advocates who serve as court-appointed guardians for patients in need, protecting their health, well-being, and safety. The program provides guardianship services to patients at Wishard and Indiana University Health hospitals.

"Wishard's Volunteer Advocates Program is improving access to care for an extremely vulnerable patient population and ensuring they have a voice in the health care system," said NAPH President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Siegel, M.D., MPH. "This program offers a clear example of innovation by the safety net and the value NAPH members have as leaders and mentors for the health care industry as a whole."

The Wishard Volunteer Advocates Program is supported, in part, by The Retirement Research Foundation and St. Margaret's Hospital Guild.