The four-hospital Charleston (WV) Area Medical Center Health System is one of four organizations to win the 2015 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the U.S. Commerce Department announced yesterday. The award is the nation’s highest presidential honor for quality and performance excellence. The winners will receive their awards at a ceremony next April in Baltimore. Twenty hospitals and health systems have received the award since health care organizations became eligible for the competition in 1999. Under the Baldrige process, award applicants are rigorously evaluated each year by a panel of experts on leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement; analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; process management; and results. Organizations that pass an initial screening are visited by teams of examiners who spend hundreds of hours evaluating performance, interviewing personnel and preparing feedback on strengths and areas for improvement. The AHA is the lead sponsor of the program’s 2015-2016 Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence, and the first organization in the program’s 26-year history to sponsor the criteria.