Each morning Memorial Hermann Sugar Land (Texas) Hospital managers and directors participate in a safety huddle to address any operations concerns or anticipated issues.

It’s part of an organizational culture that fosters workforce engagement, open communication and high performance, and it has helped earn the 149-bed hospital a 2016 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Among the three other 2016 award recipients is 68-bed Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation – Mountain Valley Center in Kellogg, Idaho – the nation’s first skilled nursing center to achieve the highest presidential honor for quality and performance excellence.

Baldrige announced the award recipients on Nov. 17. The awards will be presented in April during the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Quest for Excellence conference in Baltimore, Md. The AHA sponsors the award’s health care criteria.

For Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital, the award “reaffirms what we set out to do each and every day and that is to provide the very highest level of safe, high quality health care to all of our patients,” says Greg Haralson, the hospital’s senior vice president and CEO.

The award cites Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital’s high achievement on a number of performance metrics, including emergency center arrival-to-discharge time, compliance with regulations to reduce medication errors, bed turnaround times, radiology and laboratory result turnaround times, and the use of computerized physician order entry.

Since 2011, the hospital’s emphasis on patient safety has led to zero “never events” – medical mistakes that should never occur – related to pressure ulcers, ventilator-associated pneumonia, transfusion reactions and deaths from normally low mortality conditions.

The hospital’s recipe for success is “bringing together quality, safety and a family-caring-for-family approach that sets the pace for the hospital of tomorrow,” says Haralson. “It doesn’t happen without the commitment and dedication of every member of the Memorial Hermann Sugar Land family.”

Memorial Hermann Health System President and CEO Benjamin Chu, M.D., added that the award is a “testament to the Memorial Sugar Land team’s keen focus on delivering exceptional end-to-end patient care experiences.” Chu served as the AHA’s 2013 chairman.

More than 1,600 organizations have applied for the Baldrige Award, with only 106 receiving the highest honor. To date, hospitals and health systems have accounted for 21 of them. The program began in 1989, but health care organizations first became eligible for the award in 1998.

The award recognizes businesses, education, non-profit and health care organizations that have made outstanding achievements in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; management; analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; organization focus; 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.


Nursing center’s excellence is recognized. Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation Center – Mountain Valley has received the State of Idaho L. Jean Schoonover Excellence in Caring Award for 12 consecutive years. The award is named for one of the state’s leading health care quality experts. The Baldrige award also cited the nursing center’s high ratings in customer satisfaction.

“For a small facility in Idaho to earn our nation’s most prestigious award for quality is an amazing feat,” says Maryruth Butler, the nursing center’s executive director. “It takes an extraordinary commitment to delivering the highest quality of care to our patients and residents to be considered for this honor, and that’s what we get every day from our outstanding team.”