Surrounded by about 250 community members and healthcare professionals at the Medical Center of the Rockies, officials announced Tuesday that President Bush awarded Poudre Valley Health System the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for outstanding healthcare services.
The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is given by the President to U.S. businesses – in manufacturing, small business, non-profit, education and healthcare sectors – that meet seven rigorous quality standards that range from customer service and satisfaction to future improvement and development plans.
PVHS is the only health organization to receive the 2008 Baldrige award, and officials said the award is a validation of the 10-year process the locally owned organization has undergone to provide “world-class” healthcare to residents of northern Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming.
“Our only reason for being is to provide world-class healthcare,” said Rulon Stacey, President and Chief Executive Officer of PVHS, at a press conference Tuesday morning. “… this award is an external verification of an internal goal.”
PVHS has over 4,000 employees at more than seven facilities including but not limited to: Poudre Valley Hospital, Medical Center of the Rockies, Mountain Crest Behavioral Healthcare Center and Heart Center of the Rockies, the third largest cardiac program in Colorado.
Stacey, joined by other medical staff and board members, agreed that the award sets PVHS apart from all other healthcare organizations nation-wide and is recognition of the dedication of PVHS’s committed healthcare professionals.
PVHS first applied for the Baldrige Award in 1999 and submitted its winning application in May. While it took eight application submissions to win the award, officials said the process of healthcare development and improvement during the interim time was equally as valuable.
Dr. Warren James, vice chief of staff and a doctor of obstratician, said the medicine at PVHS was “old-class” when he joined the staff 20 years ago. He said, unlike the present, there was no working relationship between the administration and the medical staff allowing for the dialog about necessary goals and improvements to the facility.
“It’s not just my department, but department wide that we have set the bar high,” James said, explaining PVHS required more employee certification than other hospitals, pushed professional education and was governed by an active and strict credentials board.
“We raise the bar on who comes in … after we get assessment from the Baldrige board, every year we implement what we learn — we keep getting better and better.”
Over the 10-year learning and growing period, Stacey said in an interview with the Collegian that PVHS employees made a commitment to look at themselves, the services they were providing and the areas in which they cold improve.
He noted that PVHS’s patient satisfaction ranks in the top one percent of U.S. hospitals in the nation and its mortality rate ranks in the top five lowest-percent nation-wide.
Dr. William Neff, chief medical officer and vice president of PVHS, explained that while every year allowed for greater opportunities for improvement, the most significant was the relationship between PVHS and its more than 550 physicians.
Officials said that there is generally a level of competition for patients between physicians and the facility they work for, taking away from a symbiotic doctor-clinic relationship and increased levels of patient care.
At PVHS, Neff said the improved physician involvement in what he called the “Baldrige process” has helped to fully engage the staff and make everyone “a part of the same language” when developing plans and goals for future patient care and overall organization success.
“If you were to ask employees what their goals are, they would know how to trace those goals and how those tie into the board’s objective,” Neff explained later in an interview.
“It’s easy for the board to say they want to be world-class, but people have to know what part they’re playing and we have to make sure everyone is moving in the same direction,” Neff said.
And while officials lauded PVHS’s present success, they committed themselves to a continued improvement of healthcare for Colorado’s citizens.
“Every year we will continue to evaluate our process,” Stacey said. “We’ll have people give recommendation for the future, and even though we don’t know what we’ll do next year, we’ll do it better.”
Assistant News Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org