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Governor’s Award of Performance Excellence in Healthcare

The North Carolina Awards for Excellence, facilitated by the North Carolina State University’s Industrial Extension Service (IES), is modeled after the National Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award. Award recipients in healthcare also receive the Governor’s Award of Performance Excellence in Healthcare.

Recipients – 2013

Lower Cape Fear Hospice & LifeCare Center – Level 1

Lower Cape Fear Hospice & LifeCare Center provides end-of-life and palliative care, grief support and outreach services to Wilmington and the surrounding area. With president and CEO Laurie Bystrom at the helm, Lower Cape Fear Hospice & LifeCare Center achieved the award in June 2013. The agency plans to continue its Baldrige journey as it expands and grows.

“Before we started the Baldrige process, we felt things were a little fragmented in our service,” said Bystrom. “It’s not unusual to have focus on clinical staff and their customer service, and feel that processes people in the rest of the agency follow don’t have as big of an impact. But that’s not the case, because everything’s tied together.  We felt that Baldrige was the right way to go in how to get everybody moving together and give us a road map to follow.”

Lower Cape Fear Hospice & LifeCare Center isn’t resting on their laurels. The organization plans to continue its journey to peak performance with the assistance of the N.C. State University Industrial Extension Service Baldrige director, Dr. Deb Manzo.

Cherokee Indian Hospital – Level 1

Cherokee Indian Hospital, which is owned and managed by the more than 14,000 enrolled members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, achieved Level 1 under Casey Cooper, their chief executive officer, and Dr. Michael Toedt, executive director of clinical services. Cherokee Indian Hospital provides acute and chronic patient-centered, relationship-based integrated care and population health management. Despite already being engaged in multiple other initiatives, Cherokee Indian Hospital also successfully embarked on the Baldrige journey. They feel that the Baldrige criteria gave them the framework they needed to succeed at all their simultaneous projects.

“It seemed crazy to take on one more thing,” Toedt said. But it was precisely because of their other commitments that the hospital decided to move forward.

“The reason we pushed for it is because we understood what Baldrige was about,” he explained. “Taking the Baldrige journey gave us the framework for everything else we were doing. It helped give us a better, focused plan for where, say, lean training fit in, and where culture development fit in.”

He offered advice for other companies considering the journey, too.

“Don’t delay,” he said. “Start on this as soon as you can even if you have many projects on the table. It won’t hurt those projects, it will help them. In fact, it’s possible that the less ready to feel you are, the more you probably need this.”

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