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Nonprofit for Veterans Uses Baldrige Framework

New case study reveals innovative improvement strategies for governmental organizations

Published: Thursday, August 6, 2015 - 14:32

(NIST: Gaithersberg, MD) -- Depicting how an innovative government organization might use the Baldrige Excellence Framework , the 2015 Baldrige Case Study: The Casey Comprehensive Care Center for Veterans represents a fictitious organization within the real U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This case study was recently used as a sample Baldrige Award application to be assessed as part of the 2015 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Examiner Preparation Course; this same case study is also being used by Baldrige-based organizations that comprise the Alliance for Performance Excellence and by other government and international programs.

In 2006, nonprofit organizations—including charities, associations, and government entities—became eligible for the Baldrige Award, the nation’s highest recognition for organizational performance excellence. From that time onward, nonprofit Baldrige Award recipients and many others have used the Baldrige Excellence Framework (which includes the Criteria for Performance Excellence) as a model for improvement, fulfilling their missions, and serving their constituencies. Results shared have ranged from improved credit ratings, satisfaction scores, and productivity, to better cost avoidance and shorter development cycles.

Created by volunteer Baldrige alumni examiners, the fictitious Casey Comprehensive Care Center for Veterans aims to integrate the three VA Administrations to provide comprehensive, effective, and efficient care to veterans in a remote geographic area. The center uses the Baldrige Excellence Framework to guide its strategy and leadership and management systems. Like some other government organizations, the center is challenged by the increasing complexity of benefits and health care management, being an integrated system within a complex government agency, local economic conditions, and its remote location. The case study also shows how this fictitious center uses the Baldrige Excellence Framework to help it address the VA’s mandated priorities related to improving veteran access to care and benefits, claim backlogs, and veteran homelessness.

The Casey Comprehensive Care Center for Veterans case study was written in collaboration with and with the support of the Secretary Robert W. Carey Performance Excellence Award Program, a Baldrige-based national award program for all VA agencies. The Carey Award recognizes organizations within the VA that have implemented management approaches that result in sustained high levels of performance and service to veterans.

The following two documents allow you to discover how the Casey Comprehensive Care Center for Veterans scored in an assessment against the 2015–2016 Baldrige Excellence Framework:
2015 Casey Comprehensive Care Center for Veterans Consensus Scorebook (MS-Word) was produced by a team of Baldrige examiners who evaluated the fictitious organization against the framework. This scorebook also includes insights gleaned from Baldrige examiners who participated in the 2015 Baldrige Examiner preparatory class.
2015 Casey Comprehensive Care Center for Veterans Feedback Report (PDF) shows the scorebook comments in the format of the reports received by actual Baldrige Award applicants at the end of the annual evaluation process

For nonprofit organizations that wish to get started with Baldrige, in addition to best practices and other examples found in this case study, resources are available in Baldrige by Sector: Nonprofit and how to get started with the Criteria.

Each year, the Baldrige Program produces a new case study that describes how a fictitious organization is fulfilling the requirements of the Criteria. The case studies rotate sectors from year to year in order to show examples for a variety of organizations using the three versions of the Baldrige Excellence Framework: Business/Nonprofit, Health Care, and Education.

Baldrige case studies have at least three purposes. First, given that actual Baldrige Award applications remain confidential until award-winning organizations approve selected content for public sharing, the case studies are used to train examiners for the Baldrige Program’s annual award process. Second, case studies serve as sample applications for organizations interested in applying for a Baldrige Award. In addition, the case studies show organizations in every sector how they might use the Criteria questions to assess and improve their performance, even if they are not interested in applying for a Baldrige Award.

Additional Baldrige case studies are available in an online archive of publications.


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Founded in 1901, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a nonregulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, NIST’s mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.