Three health care organizations win 2011 Baldrige Award

Award recognizes top innovators, performers

Henry Ford Health System , Schneck Medical Center, and the Southcentral Foundation are among the four winners of the 2011 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest presidential honor for innovation and performance excellence. 

Created in 1987, the award is bestowed to a handful of organizations deemed outstanding across seven areas, including strategic planning, customer focus, measurement, analysis and knowledge management, workforce focus, process management, and results. This year, 69 organizations applied for consideration and— for the first time—three of the four winners were health organizations.

"With innovative practices, an unwavering commitment to excellence, dynamic management, and proven results, the four organizations recognized ... with the 2011 Baldrige Award will serve as role models—not only for their peers in the health care, nonprofit, and business sectors, but for every American organization that strives for a higher standard of performance," U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson says.

Henry Ford honored for care quality, community benefits
According to Henry Ford President and COO Bob Riney, the six-hospital Detroit system has been striving to win the award for the past five years. He says this year's award is "affirmation that we have a very unique culture with very aligned and engaged people." The system was recognized for:

  • Top performance on core CMS care quality measures;
  • Exceeding $25 million in yearly net operating income from 2007 to 2010 despite myriad financial challenges;
  • Providing $5.8 billion in community benefits in 2010; and
  • Offering a health insurance plan that is rated number one in Michigan for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates. 

Schneck Medical Center honored for patient satisfaction, workforce improvement
Schneck Medical Center President and CEO Gary Meyer says the hospital first implemented the Baldrige framework four years ago to accelerate performance improvement. Noting that employees are the most important contributor to the facility's success, he says, "Receiving this award is an extraordinary accomplishment and recognition of their commitment to continuously improve patient outcomes while safely reducing the cost of care."

Specifically, the 93-bed not-for-profit hospital in Seymour, Ind., was recognized for:

  • Top performance across patient satisfaction measures;
  • Excellence in measures of cash flow, cash position, and operating margins, as well as recent revenue growth in women's health, joint replacement, noninvasive cardiac care, cancer care, and bariatric surgery; and
  • Commitment to staff and workforce improvement, which caused staff turnover to decrease by 26% from 2007 to 2011.

Southcentral Foundation honored for care coordination
The Anchorage, Alaska-based Southcenteral Foundation also received the Baldrige Award this year. The not-for-profit health care organization was created in 1982 to improve the health and social conditions of American Indian and Alaska Native residents. It offers physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness programs to about 55,000 residents at 24 facilities across the state.

The organization was recognized for its unique relationship-based health care delivery system, for obtaining the highest level of patient-centered medical home recognition from the National Committee for Quality Assurance, and for reducing staff turnover (McKinney, Modern Healthcare, 11/22 [subscription required]; Greene, Crain's Detroit Business, 11/22; Burden, Detroit News, 11/22; Baldrige release, 11/22).

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