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The National Quality Forum (NQF) has named Johnson City, Tenn.-based Mountain States Health Alliance the recipient of its 2012 National Quality Healthcare Award, the 19th organization to receive the distinction.
MSHA, serves a mainly rural population and is the region's largest healthcare system, providing care to 29 counties in Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina, according to the system''s officials.
NQF officials said they would present the award to MSHA at the NQF annual meeting in Washington, DC in spring 2013.
Laura Miller, NQF interim president and CEO, senior vice president and COO said the annual quality award is part of NQF's mission to improve the quality of healthcare in America. NQF presents the National Quality Healthcare Award annually to an exemplary healthcare organization that has achieved a number of quality goals and achievements. "The focus of this year's National Quality Healthcare Award was the extent to which an organization is providing patient-centered care and achieving better health outcomes at lower per-capita costs," she said.
Miller said MSHA attained the award because of "their comprehensive planning and successful deployment of programs focusing on continuous quality improvement." She said MSHA "illustrated their commitment to providing a positive and safe experience not just for patients, but for their families and caregivers as well."
Tamera Parsons, vice President of quality and patient safety at MSHA said the health system has applied for the award for the past five years, and is proud to have achieved it this year, becoming the first winner in Tennessee and joining other recognizable winners. "To join a group like that is definitely a good thing," she said.
The system has been on "a journey to excellence," Parsons said, and holds a vision to deliver world class healthcare. "To be the single recipient in 2012 is a real indication that we are making significant progress and we are absolutely on the right path," she said.
(Photo at right: Johnson City Medical Center, part of Mountain States Health Alliance, located in Johnson City, TN, a 514 bed Level I Trauma Center.)
Parsons attributed receiving the award this year to having "a very strategic plan." The system operates on 10 patient-centered guiding principles, with a strong emphasis on transparency, both within the hospitals and without. "We share our data regularly and willingly so we can identify areas for improvement and share our best practices on our websites," she said.
[See also: NQF endorses resource use measures.]
"Transparency is the rule in the care of the patient," Parsons said. "We involve patients in the decisions of their care."
Parsons noted the significant drop in infection related to ventilator-associated pneumonia over the past three years and a .74 mortality rate as a result of providers using quality measurement dashboards, similar to report cards.