Morristown, NJ –Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center has been recognized by the New Jersey Hospital Association with the prestigious 2019 Excellence in Quality Improvement Award for its work to decrease readmission rates for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

“Morristown Medical Center has been diligently assessing and enhancing its programs to ensure the highest level of quality care for our patients,” said Trish O’Keefe, PhD, RN, President, Morristown Medical Center. “Our patients with COPD and their medical/clinical caregivers have been partnering to improve the patients’ quality of life in our communities through coordination of education and support for self-care techniques to manage their disease while at home. Treatment for COPD is a team sport. We have been able to improve the quality of life for the patients, and reduce hospital readmissions and unnecessary trips to the Emergency Department.”

COPD remains the third most common cause of readmission among Medicare beneficiaries, occurring in 60 percent of COPD patients within one year of hospital discharge and thirty percent of readmissions happen within three months of discharge. 

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Understanding many of these readmissions could be avoided, the multidisciplinary team at Atlantic Health System’s Morristown Medical Center developed and implemented a way to prevent or reduce readmissions.

After the bundle was implemented, the 30-day readmission rate was decreased by more than 10 percent. Sixty and 90-day readmission rates also decreased by 25 and 27 percent decrease, respectively. The COPD Bundle has continued to be successful.

The discharge bundle was so impactful that it was accepted as a late-breaking abstract at the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) annual meeting and presented to an audience of peers and researchers.


About the COPD Discharge Bundle

Centered around education, proactive physician follow-up, and the self-management of COPD, the team developed a cost-effective, easy-to-replicate evidence-based discharge bundle.

Key components of the COPD Bundle include:

  • The existing discharge checklist was reworked to be more relevant and easier to use. This checklist included arranging a 7-day or less pulmonary follow-up appointment and learning proper inhaler technique
  • To address a strong barrier to care, respiratory therapists conducted daily education on the proper inhaler technique with the proper 10-second breath hold as part of their self-management strategies.
  • The team implemented post-discharge phone calls to confirm patients were feeling better, address their symptoms and assess activity levels.
  • The team provided an educational folder that contained information on COPD and the challenges that may accompany the transition from the hospital back to home.  Pamphlets on support groups such as the Quit Smoking Program, Better Breathers Club,  Atlantic Health System Lung Cancer Screening, and Pulmonary Rehabilitation were provided.

In addition to the prestigious 2019 Excellence in Quality Improvement Award, Atlantic Health System former Board of Trustees member Robert E. Mulcahy, III received NJHA’s Healthcare System Trustee of the Year award at its annual meeting, held Friday.

For more information on Atlantic Health System’s COPD programs, visit

COPD support resources can be found at