Blog Post | May 7, 2020

Turn-Key Health’s Chief Clinical Officer, Terri Maxwell, Captures 2020 Penn Nursing Alumni Award for Innovation


Author: Greer Myers, President, Turn-Key Health

Each year, the Penn Nursing Alumni Awards Committee recognizes outstanding alumni, students and friends who demonstrate the power of Penn Nursing through their varied contributions to the profession and to healthcare in our nation and around the world.

Terri Maxwell, Ph.D., APRN, Chief Clinical Officer, TKH

We are proud to announce that Terri Maxwell (GNu’85, GR’06), Ph.D., APRN, chief clinical officer, Turn-Key Health, earned the 2020 Lillian Sholtis Brunner Award for Innovation. This award recognizes a Penn graduate for innovation in interprofessional, collaborative practice impacting the nursing profession and/or the health care delivery system.

Terri was nominated for this award by our own advisory board member, Mary Naylor, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Marian S. Ware Professor in Gerontology, director of the New Courtland Center for Transitions and Health at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and widely recognized for developing a transitional care model that improves outcomes for older adults and their family caregivers.

Naylor says, “Terri is a remarkable and visionary leader. As early as 2013, Terri recognized that many people with serious or advanced illness received care at the end of life that did not reflect their wishes. She made it a priority that the model implemented at Turn-Key Health would be based upon what mattered to people rather than what payment models would support. As a result, Turn-Key Health’s nurse and social worker teams deliver person-centered care that promotes patient dignity, safety and choice. Terri has elevated the nursing profession by fostering a transformational healthcare solution that is replicable, scalable and sustainable.”

Highlights from Illustrious Career 

Terri spent 20 years as an advanced practice nurse in oncology before focusing her career on improving care for persons with serious or advanced illness. One of the early nurse leaders in palliative care, she established the Center for Palliative Care in the Department of Family Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in 1999 where she led a health system-wide palliative care quality initiative and developed a medical school and residency palliative care curriculum for Jefferson Medical College.

During this time, she was named one of 78 Soros Faculty Scholars for the Project on Death in America. This prestigious award was developed to create a cohort of clinicians, researchers and educators committed to working in the area of palliative care and to enhance their effectiveness as academic leaders, role models and mentors. Terri, who had not yet completed her Ph.D., was the only non-Ph.D. nurse who received the award without a lead physician colleague.

Terri’s first foray into population health began in 2004 when she served in an executive role for the nation’s largest hospice medication management company, Hospice Pharmacia, later known as Enclara Pharmacia, which provides medication services to over 90,000 hospice patients per day and clinical support to hospice clinicians. In this position, Terri led the development of clinical support tools for hospice and palliative care providers, education programs for hospice nurses and research designed to increase commitment of public policy makers to the integration/sustainability of new initiatives to improve care of seriously and terminally ill populations.

Under her leadership, Turn-Key Health has expanded rapidly to multiple states and is now one of three companies frequently highlighted in policy briefs and in the media for its innovative contributions to improving care for seriously ill patients, especially for those enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans or other risk bearing entities.

As chief clinical officer, Terri is responsible for our clinical care delivery, clinical team competence, professional development and quality. Thanks to Terri’s influence, our “best in class” palliative care delivery is standardized across all markets. The nurses and social workers are guided by evidence-based tools developed by Terri, including palliative assessments embedded in a custom platform to support and guide high quality documentation, selection of evidence-based interventions, track clinical outcomes in real time and capture key performance indicators for quality monitoring and reporting.

As published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine, Terri and her pilot study team demonstrated improvements in hospital, ED use and readmissions for enrolled patients and their programs that consistently exceed clinical quality benchmarks for symptoms, goals of care and advance care plan documentation.

In addition, Terri has been instrumental in guiding the development of our predictive model to identify members for the program that uses machine learning to improve patient identification.  She also leads our Clinical Advisory Board, which is comprised of national experts in clinical programming and predictive modeling and focuses on driving innovation to continually improve patient, family and physician engagement, communication, intervention selection and modeling techniques.

One of these innovations includes developing a Palliative Activation Scale designed to catalyze patients and caregivers to be fully engaged in choosing and implementing a plan of care that optimizes their quality of life and results in treatment decisions in concordance with their goals, preferences and values. We are now embarking on using a special communication model to better understand and overcome challenges to communicating palliative care and its services to increase access to palliative care and deepen trust and relationships with patients and their families.

Please join us in congratulating Terri on her award and exemplary contributions to the nursing profession!


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