2014 Baldrige Quality Award recipients named: 5 things to know

The winners of the 2014 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards have been announced, and two healthcare organizations in Texas are included in the list of four winners.

The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is the highest award given annually by the White House for performance excellence through innovation, improvement and leadership.

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This year, four organizations took home the prize. PricewaterhouseCoopers Public Sector Practice in McLean, Va., took home the award in the service category, Elevations Credit Union in Boulder, Colo., won in the nonprofit category, and two organizations won in the healthcare category: Hill Country Memorial in Fredericksburg, Texas, and St. David's HealthCare in Austin, Texas.

The following are five things to know about this year's Baldrige Award recipients in the healthcare sector and the award itself.

1. Recipients are chosen by an independent board of examiners. This year, there were 22 applicants. The four winners were chosen after evaluation in seven areas: leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, measurement, analysis and knowledge of management, workforce focus, operations focus and results.

2. There are six possible categories in which an organization can win a Baldrige Award: manufacturing, service, small business, healthcare, education and nonprofit, which includes government agencies. The healthcare category was established in 1998, and 19 organizations have won in the category, including this year's two winners.

3. Truven Health Analytics has found that healthcare organizations that have won or been in the review process for a Baldrige Award outperform other hospitals in nearly all of the metrics it uses to choose its 100 Top Hospitals.

4. Hill Country Memorial is an 86-bed community hospital with more than 800 employees. HCM has been named one of Truven's Top 100 Hospitals for the past three years and being scored in the top 10 percent nationally for patient safety by Healthgrades. HCM also recently went through a significant financial improvement from 2010 through 2013. In that time, its net income increased from $10 million to nearly $20 million. Additionally, a 2013 process improvement in the operating room improved on-time starts from 72 percent to 81 percent, as well as increased capacity and surgical volume.

5. The other healthcare Baldrige Award winner this year is St. David's HealthCare, one of the largest health systems in Texas. The six-hospital system, which has more than 8,000 employees, contractors and volunteers, has excellent performance on core measures reported by CMS, as it is at or better than the top 10 percent of systems nationally for each disease group. St. David's was the first health system in the state to be named "Texas Employer of the Year" by the Texas Workforce Commission, and its HCAHPS scores have improved annually since 2009.

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