(NIST: Gaithersburg, MD) -- A New York Times editorial, “A Formula for Cutting Health Costs,” highlights the 2011 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient, Southcentral Foundation, and how it has achieved “startling efficiencies: emergency room use has been reduced by 50 percent, hospital admissions by 53 percent, specialty care visits by 65 percent, and visits to primary care doctors by 36 percent.”
The editorial notes that Southcentral Foundation, located in Anchorage, Alaska, has “clearly saved money... [but] patients have not been shortchanged.... Patients are virtually guaranteed a doctor’s appointment on the day they request it, and their calls are answered quickly, usually within 30 seconds. The percentage of children receiving high-quality care for asthma has soared from 35 percent to 85 percent, the percentage of infants receiving needed immunizations by age 2 has risen above 90 percent, the percentage of diabetics with blood sugar under control ranks in the top 10 percentile of a standard national benchmark, and customer and employee satisfaction rates top 90 percent.”
The New York Times continues to examine “ways to cut the costs of medical care while improving quality.” If you are or know of a health care organization using the Baldrige Health Care Criteria to achieve such results, consider a letter to the editor citing the Baldrige Health Care Criteria.
Also published recently is a blog by Peter Pronovost, medical director for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care and a leading authority on patient safety in health care today, on his experience in the Baldrige Executive Fellows Program. He writes, “Mostly what I learned on my visit to Cargill [as part of the Fellows program] is that excellence is a choice. It is not easy, and it requires a system like the Baldrige framework, yet it absolutely is possible.”