Two Texas hospitals win Baldrige Award

November 15, 2014 in Medical Technology

At a time when the public is increasingly skeptical of the value of their healthcare, federal commerce officials are honoring a few hospital systems for being role models in providing a high quality patient experience with sustainable financing.

Four companies, two of them hospitals, have won the The U.S. Commerce Department’s annual Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, a “Presidential honor for performance excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership.”

[See also: Technology vital to Baldrige Award healthcare winners]

PricewaterhouseCoopers Public Sector Practice, Elevations Credit Union, Hill Country Memorial Hospital and St. David’s HealthCare are this year’s Baldrige winners, named for the long-serving Commerce Secretary under President Ronald Reagan. Baldrige is known for helping restructure corporate antitrust laws and expanding international trade deals.

Notably, the two healthcare organizations are both from Texas — one a small rural facility, the other a joint venture between for-profits and nonprofits.

Hill Country Memorial

Hill Country Memorial Hospital, an 86-bed community hospital serving 10 counties near greater Fredericksburg, is being honored for accomplishments spanning patient care and financing. 

Hill Country Memorial has outperformed every hospital in Texas in the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services’ Value-Based Purchasing program, the Commerce Department noted. Nationally, it ranked 57th out of 3,200 hospitals in the VBPP, has remained in the top 10 percent nationally on CMS outcome and patient experience measures, and last year made it into the top 10 percent in patient measures of communication about medications, pain management and responsiveness of hospital staff.

All that, while demonstrating “significant improvements in its financial performance from 2010 to 2013,” the Commerce Department said. Between 2010 and 2013, Hill Country Memorial grew net income from $10 million to nearly $20 million and improved cash flow to total debt ratios from 50 to 60.

Led by CEO Jayne Pope, RN, the former chief nursing officer, and CFO Mark Jones, Hill Country Memorial has dubbed its mission statement: “Remarkable Always.”

“Three core strengths help fulfill the health care needs of Hill Country patients: a supportive community, quality patient care and a Spirit of Calling. We serve many visitors to the Hill Country,” the nonprofit organization says on its website. “They come from all parts of the world, and we often hear positive feedback.”

St. David’s HealthCare

On the other side of Texas and the organizational spectrum, the other Baldrige Award winner is St. David’s HealthCare, one of the state’s largest hospital systems, with six hospitals, six ambulatory surgery centers, four free-standing emergency departments and four urgent care clinics.

Operated in a partnership between St. David’s Foundation, Hospital Corporation of America and Georgetown Health Foundation, St. David’s has earned a composite performance score on core CMS measures in the top ten percent for major disease categories consecutively since 2009, the Commerce Department notes. St. David’s has also ranked in the American College of Cardiology’s top 10 percent since 2010 for its “door-to-balloon” time, a measure of how quickly it treats severe heart attack caused by a blood clot.

The health system has used a “Service Excellence Initiative” to address patient needs at all stages of their experience, with patient satisfaction scores that have improved each year since 2009. St. David’s also has some notable loyalty in a region where patients have lots of choices, ranking in the top 10 percent statewide and top 25 percent nationally. “It is humbling to be recognized as a role model for organizations across the country because we know that with this designation comes tremendous responsibility. Performance improvement never ends,” said David Huffstutler, president and chief executive officer of St. David’s HealthCare.

“I am thrilled to congratulate the 2014 Baldrige Award recipients who have found a proven path to success through the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence,” said Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker.

“The Baldrige Program is one of the key ways that the Commerce Department is helping to recognize U.S. organizations that strive to have world-class operations. The honorees are the role models of innovation, sound management, employee and customer satisfaction, and results. I encourage organizations in every sector to follow their lead.”

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