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Community Hospital Receives Colorado’s Highest Excellence Award

June 21, 2016

Jim Ulrich, Community Hospital President & CEO receives the Peak Award on behalf of Community Hospital, from Dr. Doug Gilbert, Chairman of the Board for RMPEx during the annual Quest for Excellence event in Colorado in May.

McCook, Nebraska – Community Hospital representatives traveled to Denver in May to receive the Peak award, the highest honor for performance excellence awarded by the Rocky Mountain Performance Excellence (RMPEx) to organizations in Colorado and some surrounding states. The hospital learned in December it had been selected by a panel of judges as a 2015 recipient. Community Hospital was among three recipients, and the only hospital, to receive the Peak award.

While there, Community Hospital President & CEO, Jim Ulrich presented to those in attendance the story of the hospital’s Journey to Excellence. He explained the history of how Community Hospital achieved the Peak award and the strategies and next steps for the hospital.

Other hospital leaders, Jon Reiners, Director of Materials Management, Troy Bruntz, Vice President Finance and Steve Shaner, Director of Strategic Planning, were asked to present to attendees a breakout session called “Achieving Performance and Strategy at Community Hospital,” which explained the hospital’s strategic plan, the voice of the customer, the balanced scorecard, processed based management and the process scorecard. Also attending the event was Karen Kliment Thompson, Vice President Ancillary Services.

“Community Hospital is extremely proud to be named as a Peak Performance award recipient,” said Community Hospital President & CEO, Jim Ulrich. “This award, in addition to the Timberline award the hospital received in 2014, completes our journey through the RMPEx series,” he added. “It is very gratifying to have completed this leg of our Journey to Excellence in just two years’ time.”

A team of six RMPEx examiners visited Community Hospital November 2-6 for a site visit. The examiners had extensively read Community Hospital’s 50-page Peak application prior to the visit and came armed with questions about the processes and results used to advance Community Hospital’s Journey to Excellence. Areas the examiners explored were leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, measurement/analysis and knowledge management, workforce focus, operations focus and results.

This is the first time the hospital has applied for the Peak award. In 2014, Community Hospital applied for and won the Timberline award, one step under the Peak award, the same year it started the process of working with the Rocky Mountain Performance Excellence program.

Winning the award confirms the efforts Community Hospital has made on its Journey to Excellence. Reflected in its mission of Regional Healthcare Excellence, the hospital realigned its focus strategically this year by refining its 3- to 5-year objectives from 16 to only three. The first of the three objectives adopted was: “Advance our Journey to Excellence through further adoption of the Baldrige criteria.”

“Now that we have completed the leg of our journey through the Colorado state RMPEx award series (by achieving its highest award), we have turned our attention toward the national stage and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award,” Ulrich said. An application for the Baldrige award was submitted in April. Community Hospital will know if it is chosen for a site visit sometime this fall.

“Our journey is not about the awards, but the continual improvements the process requires we put into place in our organization to provide a better patient experience and higher quality of care,” he added. “These awards serve as great validation of the progress on our journey.”

“This is not an easy journey but we feel it is one that organizations like ours are very dedicated and passionate to take,” said Ulrich. “The RMPEx award program director expressed that he saw great improvement at Community Hospital between last year’s visit during the Timberline application and this year’s visit for the Peak award application. His only regret is that we are now graduating from their state program in just two years; but he is really excited about the hospital taking that next step in our journey to the national Malcolm Baldrige application and award process.

“Today, we are even more passionate about our Journey to Excellence. This continues to be a challenging journey because what is perceived to be excellence today may be perceived as more of a normal expectation by our customers in the future. Thus, as an organization we have to continue to raise the bar and push ourselves to raise our levels of performance,” Ulrich concluded.

2015 RMPEx award recipients include:

Peak Awards

  • AlloSource, Centennial, Colorado
  • Community Hospital, McCook, Nebraska
  • Donor Alliance, Inc., Denver, Colorado

Foothills Award

  • El Paso County School District 49, Peyton, Colorado

Community Hospital is one of only eight organizations to earn a Peak Award in the 14-year history of RMPEx. RMPEx is the regional chapter of the prestigious national Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, established by Congress and President Ronald Reagan in 1987. It is the only presidential-level award for quality in the US. The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recognizes U.S. organizations in business, health care, education, and nonprofit sectors for performance excellence.

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