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Children's Hospital System receives Quality Award

Published on Thursday, December 5, 2013

By: Jen Hospodor

Children's of Mississippi, the health system anchored by Batson Children’s Hospital,  has received a 2013 Achievement Award for Performance Excellence from an institution associated with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s only presidential award for performance excellence.

Guy Giesecke, chief executive officer for Children’s, said the accomplishment was a team effort between the staff, the leadership and the physicians.

“We all have a common goal, which is to improve the health of Mississippi’s children,” he said. “I’m very proud of the direction we’ve been going and this award confirms that so much of our hard work has paid off and verifies the high level of quality and service to our patients from an outside organization that looks at hospitals throughout the southeast.”

The state-level award, presented by the Alliance for Performance Excellence, represents the required first step toward attaining a coveted Baldrige Award.

Shannon Wentz, director of quality and coordinated care, helmed the lengthy application process that began in the spring. The effort included an extensive written report that examined seven strategic areas within the organization including leadership, strategic planning, customer and market focus, workforce focus, operations focus and results, and measurement, analysis and knowledge management.

“It really made us flesh out every area of the organization,” she said. “We really had to look deep into our processes.”

Sue Weatter, executive director of the Arkansas Institute for Performance Excellence, presented the award and noted that many organizations would like to have earned the honor.

“The fact that you accomplished it in such a small amount of time is truly amazing,” Weatter said.
Wentz and Dr. Rick Barr, Suzan B. Thames Professor and Chair of Pediatrics, remarked that everyone was pleasantly surprised to attain the “Achievement” level of the award, which is the second highest level. There are four levels with the highest level being the Governor’s Award.

“We just thought the process would make us a better organization,” Barr said. “We knew we’d find out things about ourselves that we’re doing well and we’d also find areas of improvement and we did.”

Wentz said when she was hired a year ago, she knew there was great work going on within the organization, but also saw a need for recognition of that work from outside authorities.

“This is a validation of the work we do every day,” she said.