Memorial honored with presidential-level quality award

By ALLEN LAMAN
alaman@dcherald.com

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — More than 500 miles from Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center’s home base in Jasper, a crowd erupted on Sunday night when the local organization was ceremoniously honored with the 2018 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Among the audience were Memorial leaders, board members, frontline workers, a volunteer and two physicians — all who flew out to the event, which took place in National Harbor, Maryland, just south of the nation’s capital.

“If we’d have had the opportunity, and if we could have done it, we’d have had all 1,700 people here,” Kyle Bennett, president and CEO of Memorial, said of the organization’s workforce in a Sunday phone interview after the award ceremony, “because they all have played a part in our journey. They all play a part in the culture that we live every day.”

The award is a presidential-level honor that recognizes exemplary organizations and businesses in the United States that demonstrate an unceasing drive for radical innovation, thoughtful leadership and administrative improvement.

Memorial is now one of 115 organizations throughout the United States that have received the award since Congress created it in 1987. The local entity was the only 2018 recipient in the health-care sector.

A detailed breakdown of what Memorial has done in the past seven years to reach the high standards required to earn the recognition is detailed in a special insert in today’s newspaper. Those strides include filling the need for a regional trauma care center, using telemedicine to bring stroke care to Dubois County, launching a doctor training program to attract young physicians to the area and creating a medication resource center for community members who need financial assistance to fill prescriptions.

In the phone interview, Bennett spoke humbly of how it felt to receive the national honor. He said Memorial can still improve in many ways, and the hospital will now strive to do just that.

Photo provided by Memorial Hospital
Among the audience Sunday night were Memorial leaders, board members, frontline workers, a volunteer and two physicians — all who flew out to the event, which took place in National Harbor, Maryland, just south of the nation’s capital.

“This is a milestone in the midst of our journey,” Bennett said. “We have been on our journey for seven years. Really, this award is a really good indicator that we’re going in the right direction. And we plan to continue our journey.”

He later added: “When it comes right down to it, we are the recipients of the award, and the communities and the patients we serve are the recipients of the quality that we provide. And we want that to be better every day.”

The Baldrige criteria “never really ends,” explained Melanie Powell, director of business development and marketing at Memorial. Over the course of today and Tuesday, hospital representatives will lead presentations about their organization and listen to speakers from other Baldrige Award-winning groups as part of the Quest for Excellence Conference in National Harbor.

“So, our hope is that we’ll be able to learn from some of the other organizations that have achieved the award level or have shown excellence in different categories,” Powell said.

Other 2018 recipients include the Alamo Colleges District, of San Antonio; Donor Alliance of Denver; Integrated Project Management Company, Inc., of Burr Ridge, Illinois; and Tri County Tech, of Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

The physical award is a rectangular slab of Steuben crystal that weighs 15 to 20 pounds. Last year’s award was valued at about $16,000, Bennett said. Memorial’s award will be shipped to Jasper after the conference.

Read more about the Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award below:




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