Press Release

Iowa and Washington State Hospital Associations Recognized for Leadership in Health Care Quality...


Will Receive Inaugural Dick Davidson Quality Milestone Award

Today the American Hospital Association (AHA) announced that the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA) and the Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) will receive the inaugural Dick Davidson Quality Milestone Award for Allied Association Leadership for their work to improve health care quality.  This award will be presented annually to state, regional or metropolitan hospital associations that demonstrate leadership and innovation in quality improvement and contribute to national health care improvement efforts.  The award will be presented at the 2011 Health Forum/AHA Leadership Summit on July 17 in San Diego. 

"Across the nation, quality improvements are occurring more broadly and rapidly thanks in many ways to the collaborative efforts sponsored by state and local hospital associations," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock.  "This is the manifestation of Dick Davidson's original vision - collaboration across all member hospitals to improve care for all patients."

In an effort to facilitate exceptional health care quality and patient safety for all Iowans, the IHA and the Iowa Medical Society formed the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative (IHC) in 2002.  The IHC's accomplishments today stem from its guiding principle that hospitals and physicians must lead the change toward improved quality, patient safety and value.  Furthermore, by sharing what is learned, everyone can benefit.     

IHC works closely with hospitals, physicians and patients to understand where their program should focus and how to best provide them the tools and educational resources they need.  Working with numerous allied health care partners, IHC has established key priority areas that include the adoption of several state and national programs to help hospitals improve processes, share best practices, refine data collection, use toolkits and receive educational materials.  Significant progress has been made with hospitals adopting "bundles of care", which are established protocols or practices for patient safety, that have improved care in numerous areas, including a seven fold reduction in central line infections and reductions in MRSA surgical site and blood stream infections.

WSHA began its quality improvement efforts in 2005 by creating the Patient Safety Program.  With all community hospitals in the state as members, the program provides a forum for hospitals to share best practices and embrace collaboration in patient safety and quality.  Each year WSHA responds to the needs of its members and the community by setting evidence-based goals to achieve real improvement in patient care. 

Success has come in part through the establishment of the Safe Table Learning Collaboratives that brings hospitals together to learn and share best practices though monthly in-person or online meetings and use of the Quality Benchmarking System that was created by WSHA to offer a unique secure web-based quality measurement application that measures and monitors their progress. Since 2005, the reduction in central line and ventilator associated infections has resulted in 318 lives saved with a cost savings of about $53 million to the health care system.

"Both honorees are stellar examples of how state hospital associations through strong leadership and commitment can improve patient care provided in their states," said Jonathan B. Perlin, M.D., PhD, president, Clinical and Physician Services Group & Chief Medical Officer of HCA and AHA board member serving as chair of the Davidson Award.  "The associations were selected based on their quality improvement, innovation and commitment to enhance how care is delivered to all. As inaugural awardees, they have set the bar very high for future honorees."      

The award is named for AHA President Emeritus Dick Davidson who strongly promoted the role of hospital associations in leading quality improvement during his tenure as president from 1991 to 2006 and as president of the Maryland Hospital Association from 1969 to 1991.  Applications are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary award committee with the AHA Board of Trustees providing final approval.  The committee includes hospital association executives, hospital and health system clinical and operational leaders and a representative from a national non-AHA organization involved in quality and performance improvement.  Information on the award and how to apply is available on AHA's website.

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

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