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ST. LOUIS (April 2003) - SSM Health Care (SSMHC), a St. Louis-based not-for-profit health system of hospitals and other health-related entities, has become the first health care organization in the country to be named a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) winner. SSMHC was one of 17 health-care institutions to apply for the MBNQ (now called the Malcolm Baldrige Award).
Sr. Mary Jean Ryan accepts the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award from Vice President Dick Cheney.
The award, which is given by the U.S. Department of Commerce, is the top honor a U.S. company can receive for quality management and quality achievement. Each year, the Commerce Department selects up to three organizations in the categories of manufacturing, service, small business, education and health care for the award, which is traditionally presented by the President of the United States.
"SSM Health Care is a role model of world-class excellence and has achieved extraordinary results," Commerce Secretary Don Evans said in announcing the decision. "The men and women of this organization represent the highest ethical standards in public responsibility and corporate citizenship. I am particularly pleased to join the President in announcing a first-time winner in health care."
"This award," said Sr. Mary Jean Ryan, FSM, President/CEO, SSM Health Care, "is a wonderful recognition of the excellent performance of our employees and physicians and of their strong commitment to their mission û to reveal the healing presence of God through our exceptional health care services.
"The Baldrige model," she added, "has been instrumental in helping us achieve our mission, because we have been using it for seven and a half years to improve the care we provide to those we serve."
Congress established the MBNQA in 1987 to recognize U.S. organizations for their achievements in quality and business performance and to raise awareness about the importance of quality and performance excellence as a competitive edge. Winning organizations are considered world-class role models in their industry. The U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) manages the Baldrige National Quality Program.
SSMHC applied for the award in May with a 50-page application and found out in September that it would receive a site visit the week of October 28. The site visits included comprehensive visits to the corporate office in St. Louis and more than 17 facilities in the four states in which SSMHC operates. The purpose of these visits, which took place at all hours of the day, was to verify and clarify information included in the application. Baldrige examiners spoke with more than 800 employees and physicians throughout the system.
Although the MBNQA is a significant milestone, the award is one component of SSMHC's 12-year continuous quality improvement (CQI) efforts, which are ongoing across the system and in its individual entities.
Baldrige performance excellence criteria are widely accepted in the United States and around the world as the standard for performance excellence. Seven categories make up the criteria û leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, information and analysis, human resource focus, process management and business results. For many organizations, using the criteria results in better employee relations, higher productivity, greater customer satisfaction, increased market share and improved operating performance.
Organizations receiving the Baldrige award have included: Boeing Airlift and Tanker Programs, Merrill Lynch Credit Corp., Xerox Business Services, AT&T Consumer Communications Services, Eastman Chemical Co., the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Federal Express Corp., Cadillac Motor Car Division, Motorola Inc. and Westinghouse Electric Corp.Baldrige Performance Excellence Program
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