Press Release

Five Hospitals Honored for Commitment to Quality

Quest for Quality Prize Recognizes Leadership and Innovation in Quality, Safety and Patient Care

Five U.S. hospitals were recognized today for their leadership and innovation in quality, safety and commitment to patient care.  The 2007 American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize® was awarded to Columbus Regional Hospital in Columbus, Ind., which will receive $75,000.  Columbus Regional, a regional referral hospital serving multiple counties in southeastern Indiana, was selected by a multi-disciplinary committee of health care quality and patient safety experts based on its culture of quality and efforts to achieve the Institute of Medicine's six quality aims for hospitals.  Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City were honored as finalists and will each receive $12,500.  Amarillo VA Health Care System in Amarillo, Texas and McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, S.C. received Citations of Merit.

The American Hospital Association-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize is presented annually to honor leadership and innovation in quality, safety and commitment in patient care. The prize is supported by grants from the McKesson Foundation and McKesson Corporation.  The criteria for the 2007 award include the demonstration of an organizational commitment to achieving the Institute of Medicine's six quality aims - safety, patient-centeredness, effectiveness, efficiency, timeliness and equity.  One goal of the award is to honor organizations that have made successful quality improvements and that offer models that can be replicated by others in the hospital field.  Relevant learnings and key elements for achieving progress that have stood out among the current and past honorees include recognizing that organizational leadership is critical, that what is measured is what gets attention and that patient and family involvement is integral to quality improvements.

"Each hospital recognized today has taken a slightly different path in its efforts to improve quality and patient care," said Rich Umbdenstock, AHA President and CEO.  "But each has successfully created a new culture - one based on trust, understanding and openness.  That culture is absolutely essential in the continuous process of change that is necessary to ensuring that care is always the safest and of the highest quality it can possibly be."

"We're pleased to have the opportunity to recognize and support the important efforts hospitals across the nation are making to improve patient safety," said John H. Hammergren, Chairman and CEO of McKesson Corporation.  "We hope the Quest for Quality Prize will help encourage health care institutions to more quickly adopt the Institute of Medicine's six quality aims."

Prize Winner: Columbus Regional Hospital - Columbus, Ind.
Columbus Regional Hospital is actively involved in the pursuit of excellence.  The 225-bed, county-owned hospital is dedicated to creating an environment that allows for optimal patient outcomes and the highest levels of patient satisfaction.  The hospital has engaged physicians, caregivers and staff of all levels to align themselves with the common focus of high quality for patients. 

  • Education and strategic planning play particularly important roles for Columbus Regional as they work to meet their goal of improved quality and patient safety.  From board members to frontline caregivers, the hospital invests in making sure that everyone is aligned in these efforts.  Employees at Columbus Regional are empowered and encouraged to take steps to improve quality.  Vigorous benchmarking also helps to drive quality improvement and is supported by the organization' planning process - with each aspect of that process remaining centered on the patient.  It is the sentiment of the team at Columbus Regional that by taking care of the patient first, the rest will fall into place.
  • Columbus Regional has invested heavily in technology and has implemented an electronic medical record system to improve efficiencies and patient safety.  This commitment can also be seen through the bolstered information service staff.  This was done with the belief that advances in technology and information services support their core mission of patient care. 
  • The hospital has adopted an electronic medication reconciliation process, improving timeliness and efficiency, and a wireless communications nurse call system that allows patients, physicians and other members of the care team to contact nurses immediately through portable phones.

Finalist: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center - Los Angeles
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center developed a pervasive culture of quality and safety.  A dedication to providing quality patient care and maintaining high patient satisfaction levels is woven throughout the 855-bed teaching facility.  The organization's strategic plan is driven around the mission of providing superior quality, safety, service and value for patients.

Hospital leaders work hard to demonstrate that quality improvement is a responsibility shared by everyone.

  • Crucial to Cedars-Sinai's success has been the flattening of hierarchy that encourages all employees to generate ideas and participate in process improvement activities.  This is particularly noteworthy with an organization of close to 2,000 affiliated-physicians and 9,000 employees.
  • A team-approach to quality improvement is encouraged and initiatives are carried out by interdisciplinary teams, as is the case with the Data Provider Group.  Process improvement is driven by data measures and, therefore, integrity of the data is a top concern.  A comprehensive dashboard system helps hospital leaders monitor clinical outcomes and results in a shared consistency of purpose and a strong culture of prevention.

Finalist: INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center - Oklahoma City
A commitment to accountability and transparency is driving quality improvement at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center.  The 564-bed hospital currently posts data on quality, patient satisfaction and pricing on its Web site.  The quality improvement initiatives underway at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center demonstrate a responsibility to the patients and community served.  The spotlight that accompanies transparency has served as an additional motivator for hospital leaders and staff.  To ensure that every employee has a stake in quality performance, INTEGRIS Baptist has instituted a pay-for-performance program system wide.

  • Like other organizations, INTEGRIS Baptist had to undergo a cultural transformation - shifting from a culture of blame to one of teamwork - before it could achieve success in improving quality.  Evidence-based practices were used to create a "Framework for Approaching Patient Safety" that outlines steps needing to be taken in order to achieve the organization's pursuit of improved quality. 
  • INTEGRIS Baptist recognizes the importance of reflection and invests significant time in reviewing processes to identify opportunities for improvement.  These learnings are then incorporated into ongoing education for employees, a core aspect of quality improvement.

Citation of Merit: Amarillo VA Health Care System - Amarillo, Texas
At Amarillo VA Health Care System, employees have a strong sense of duty to provide veterans and their families with quality care that is compassionate, timely, efficient and ethical.  The 189-bed teaching facility has undergone significant changes in culture to achieve an environment of patient-centered care where they can deliver high quality care to those who have served our country.  They have bolstered care through adoption of quality initiatives identified through the VA's National Center for Patient Care. 

  • They have worked to implement electronic medical records and a bar coding medication administration system. 
  • The Amarillo VA has focused much of their efforts on increased patient education.  They offer patient orientation sessions where patients can meet face-to-face with caregivers.  Additionally, Amarillo VA has developed an electronic patient consent form to assist in communications between patients and care providers.

Citation of Merit: McLeod Regional Medical Center - Florence, S.C.
McLeod Regional Medical Center, a 336-bed tertiary and teaching hospital, uses data to drive quality improvement efforts.  Senior hospitals leaders, including the board, are deeply engaged and committed to quality and patient safety efforts that can improve care for patients.  McLeod Regional has also recognized the value patients can play in quality improvement efforts and are working to engage them and solicit feedback.

  • Hospital leaders meet daily to conduct patient rounds where they meet with patients to discuss their experience and perception of care.  The process has helped to identify safety concerns and opportunities to improve patient care, as well as provided an opportunity to enhance interaction between hospital management and front-line caregivers.
  • McLeod typically identifies between three and five improvement projects each quarter to ensure a shared focus and manageability.  Outcomes are tracked and reported regularly.

For more information on the award, including the 2008 Call for Nominations and award application, visit the Quest for Quality Web site at

About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at

About AHA


Member Constituency Sections

Key Relationships

News Center

Performance Improvement

Advocacy Issues

Products & Services


Research & Trends


155 N. Wacker Dr.
Chicago, Illinois 60606

800 10th Street, N.W.
Two CityCenter, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20001-4956