TMH Board gives green light to pursue national award |

TMH Board gives green light to pursue national award

Bridget Manley

At its regular meeting Thursday, The Memorial Hospital Board voted unanimously to pursue a national award.

But, the end goal, Chief Executive Officer George Rohrich said, isn't simply winning the accolade.

"I really do believe it will guide us to achieve all of our goals," he said.

The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality award, which is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is designed to foster innovation and industrial competitiveness. It recognizes performance excellence in a variety of sectors, including manufacturing, health care and education.

The award also encourages communication, Rohrich said, not just within the hospital but also with other companies.

"Culture and attitude, service and satisfaction, are so hugely important in this award," he said.

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And that, Rohrich added, is where TMH could have the advantage.

"We've been working on that for years," he said.

The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality award isn't easy to win. So far, only a handful of health care organizations have done so, Rohrich said. One of them was Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, and took that facility nearly a decade to be named one of the award winners.

"Winning the award probably isn't that big of a deal," he said. "But in those 10 years, what you learn and how you improve is truly, I think, the critical part."

He added, "It's really going to be the journey that benefits us."

A board of examiners evaluates the applicants then gives them feedback on their performance.

"The feedback is invaluable in the continued pursuit of excellence in your organization," said Mitch Edgeworth, Quorum Health Resources regional vice president. "If you're going to choose one (award), it's probably among the best, if not the best, to pursue."

TMH board members also expressed their support.

"I think we can do a lot of surveys and come up with data," board member Tinneal Gerber said, but added it's how that data is interpreted that counts.

"I think that's what this program does," she said. "It will really help us to go in and interpret the data that we're getting and find ways to improve."

Board member Don Cook also stood behind the plan, but added winning the support of staff members will be crucial.

"I would really like to see the staff buy into (the award), as well," he said.

Taking the award to the physicians and staff is the next step, Rohrich said.

Chief Financial Officer Bryan Chalmers gave $200,000 as a preliminary cost of pursuing the award, but hospital officials stressed that number is not final and may change.

Regardless of the outcome, though, Rohrich believes the outcome will be positive.

"It's everything we want to be," he said of the award's requirements. "This will help us get there."

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In other action …

At its regular meeting Thursday, The Memorial Hospital Board:

• Heard a presentation from Mitch Edgeworth, Quorum Health Resources regional vice president, about a medical coding system that all institutions covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act must implement by 2013.

• Approved, 6-0, the finance committee’s recommendation to authorize a five-year service agreement for an ultrasound machine the TMH Foundation purchased in 2010. The agreement would cost $87,250.20 total.

• Approved, 6-0, a recommendation to extend Dr. Andrew Hughes’ contract, which was set to expire next year. Hughes is a family practitioner at The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic.

• Entered an executive session to discuss matters pursuant to contractual negotiations.

Note: Board member Forrest Luke was absent.