2 Texas hospitals win Baldrige award

Two Texas hospitals received this year's Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the highest Presidential honor for performance excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership.

Hill Country Memorial (HCM), an 86-bed nonprofit community hospital based in Fredericksburg, and St. David's Healthcare in Austin, one of the largest hospital systems in Texas, were selected from a field of 22 applicants, U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said in an announcement. They were evaluated based on leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, measurement, analysis and knowledge management, workforce focus, operations focus and results.

"The criteria, which are regularly updated, help organizations reach their goals, improve results and become more competitive by aligning plans, processes, people, decisions and actions vital to achieving ongoing success," said Robert Fangmeyer, director of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program at Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the manager of the Baldrige Award in cooperation with the private sector.

HCM outperformed every hospital in Texas for Value-Based Purchasing (VBP), a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid program that ranks hospitals on quality healthcare performance. Nationally it ranks 57th out of nearly 3,200 hospitals for VBP performance.

For the past three years it has also been named one of the "Top 100 Hospitals" by Truven Health Analytics and its Healthgrade scores are in the top 10 percent nationally for patient safety, general surgery, gastrointestinal care and joint replacement.

Moreover, the hospital consistently ranks in the top 10 percent nationally on CMS clinical process measures, healthcare outcomes and patient experience measures. In 2013, CMS ranked HCM higher than the top 10 percent nationally for patient experience measures such as "overall rating of hospital," "communication about medications," "pain management" and "responsiveness of hospital staff."

St. David's Healthcare, which includes six hospitals, six ambulatory surgery centers, four free-standing emergency departments and four urgent care clinics, is ranked at or better than the top 10 percent of healthcare systems nationally for composite performance on core measures for each disease group reported by CMS.

The American College of Cardiology ranks the system in its top 10 percent for its "door-to-balloon" time in treating STEMI, the most severe form of heart attack. 

Recognizing people is at the heart of its success, according to the NIST. It was the first health system in Texas to be named "Texas Employer of the Year" by the Texas Workforce Commission. The system retains nurses through its Specialty Nurse Accelerated Program, which trains high-performing nurse graduates to work in specialty areas. All the first year graduates were still with the system in 2013, compared to a 70-percent retention of such first-year graduates nationally.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement
- read the profile on Hill Country Memorial
- check out the profile on St. David's Healthcare

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