November 14, 2012

MRMC receives best practice recognition from Baldrige Performance Excellence Program


COLUMBIA, Tenn.—Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) was recently one of 12 organizations in the U.S. to receive a site visit for consideration for the prestigious 2012 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest Presidential honor for performance excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership.

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank today announced the four winners. They are Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, MESA Products, Inc., North Mississippi Health Services, and City of Irving, Texas.


This year, Baldrige also recognized best practices in one or more of the Baldrige Criteria categories among organizations that were candidates but not recipients of the award. MRMC was the only health care provider recognized for best practices. The two categories in which they received recognition were Strategic Planning and Workforce Focus. The Strategic Planning category examines how an organization develops strategic objectives, implementation of action plans and how progress is measured. The Workforce Focus category examines an organization’s ability to build a workforce environment conducive to high performance as well as how they engage, manage and develop the workforce to utilize its full potential in alignment with the organization’s overall mission, strategy and action plans.

“The employees, physicians, board of trustees and volunteers have worked diligently to elevate Maury Regional Medical Center to become a national role model for health care. I am immensely proud of this organization and our commitment to continuous improvement as we strive to provide the very best of care to every patient, every day,” said Robert Otwell, who initiated the Baldrige performance excellence model at MRMC when he arrived as CEO in 2005 and who will soon be retiring.

With the Baldrige performance excellence model in place, the medical center advanced the use of best practices, proven to result in positive outcomes for patients, as well as patient safety, financial performance and customer satisfaction. As a result of best practices recognition, MRMC will be acknowledged in the program for the Baldrige Award ceremony, their achievements highlighted on the Baldrige Program Web site and their leaders asked to present at the annual Quest for Excellence conference.

Incoming MRMC CEO Alan Watson stated, “When you have an entire organization working together to improve performance, it is astonishing what can be accomplished. Robert Otwell is to be commended for his leadership in initiating the Baldrige model and cultivating a culture of excellence. In fact, it was his leadership that helped to establish the Baldrige model at North Mississippi Medical Center, which won the Baldrige Award in 2006 and again this year at the system level. At Maury Regional, his leadership has culminated in the medical center being named a top health system in the nation for the past two years, as well as numerous awards for quality, value and patient safety. As we continue on this journey, I am confident we will be recognized for excellence with a Baldrige Award in the future.”

The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program received 39 applications in 2012 (one manufacturer, three service companies, two small businesses, three educational organizations, 25 health care organizations and five nonprofits/governmental organizations). The applicants were evaluated rigorously by an independent board of examiners in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; operations focus; and results. Examiners provided approximately 1,000 hours of review to each applicant receiving a site visit, and all applicants will receive a detailed report on the organization's strengths and opportunities for improvement.

A 2011 report by Thomson Reuters found that health care organizations that have won or been in the final review process for a Baldrige Award outperform other hospitals in all but one metric the company uses to determine its "100 Top Hospitals" in the nation (and were six times more likely to be among the top 100).

Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness and performance of U.S. businesses. Originally, three types of organizations were eligible: manufacturers, service companies and small businesses. Congress expanded the program in 1999 to include education and health care organizations, and again in 2007 to include nonprofit organizations such as charities, trade and professional associations, and government agencies. The award promotes excellence in organizational performance, recognizes the achievements and results of U.S. organizations, and publicizes successful performance strategies. The award is not given for specific products or services. Since 1988, 93 organizations have received Baldrige Awards.

The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program is managed by the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in conjunction with the private sector. The program raises awareness about the importance of performance excellence in driving the U.S. and global economy; provides organizational assessment tools and criteria; educates leaders in businesses, schools, health care organizations, and government and nonprofit organizations about the practices of national role models; and recognizes them by honoring them with the only Presidential Award for performance excellence. For more information, go to