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TODAY news for Thursday, July 28, 2008

Loma Linda University Medical Center news

Medical Center wins prestigious CAPE award

Ruthita Fike, MA, CEO and administrator, Loma Linda University Medical Center, displays the prestigious 2007 silver award received from CAPE.
Ruthita Fike, MA, CEO and administrator, Loma Linda University Medical Center, displays the prestigious 2007 silver award received from CAPE.
Loma Linda University Medical Center is pleased to announce that it was selected to receive the prestigious 2007 silver award from the California Awards for Performance Excellence (CAPE) at that organization’s 14th annual conference and awards ceremony held at the Renaissance Hotel in Long Beach on March 28, 2008.

“The fact that we won a silver award on our first application is amazing!” says Virginia L. Mullen, RHIA, executive director of patient safety and reliability, for the Medical Center. “When we saw the CAPE directors at the Awards Ceremony, they told us it’s very unusual for someone to get a site visit and an award the first year they apply.”

According to the California Council for Excellence, which administers the CAPE program, the Medical Center was one of only 12 organizations statewide that were selected for the honor. Other award recipients included leading representatives from the fields of business, education, health care, non-profit, and the military.

The CAPE program is similar to the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Program in recognizing organizations that demonstrate superior performance in seven key business areas including leadership; strategic planning, customer and market focus, measurement and knowledge management, human resources, process management, and business results.

The California Council for Excellence uses the same criteria for evaluating organizations as the national program. The rigorous Baldrige Criteria are recognized internationally as the hallmark for performance excellence.

The 50-page application the Medical Center submitted to win the award reveals a detailed picture of not only LLUMC, but also Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center, the parent organization. The complex web of processes and actions necessary to orchestrate the winning of the CAPE award is something of a work of art in itself. Virginia Mullen stated, “It took a concentrated, concerted effort involving many, many individuals and hundreds of hours. If you read the application, you really get a good reflection of the initiatives and improvements that have happened within the organization. One of the things the CAPE examiners look at is how far down within an organization the knowledge of the strategic plan extends. The deeper it goes, the happier the CAPE people are.”

Ms. Mullen goes on to note that the CAPE investigative team conducted extensive interviews during their evaluation of the Medical Center application. “They probably met with 200 staff members or more,” she estimates. “They held formal and informal interviews with employees ranging from the CEO to the landscapers working out front. They asked about measurements of patient and employee satisfaction, our strategic plan, the mission statement, and our four strategic pillars. They talked about public and media relations and took a tour of our Telemedicine van. They went on the floors to interview staff. We gave them open access.”

But even with open access, the examination process itself was conducted in an atmosphere of the utmost security and confidentiality. To prevent the possibility of embarrassing organizations which enter the contest, but don’t win, the CAPE examiners don’t tell anyone the names of organizations they are evaluating. “They don’t even tell their family members,” Ms. Mullen reports.

“The CAPE silver award is a wonderful validation of the hard work done over the last several years at Loma Linda University Medical Center,” observes James Pappas, MD, vice president for quality and patient safety. “Most external assessments of healthcare—for example the Joint Com­mission—direct their efforts specifically on patient care.”

While Dr. Pappas sees that as a “good and necessary starting point,” he points out that “The CAPE award, on the other hand, is based on the Baldrige criteria, which concentrate more on the business of running a health care organization. Baldrige criteria assess leadership ability to formulate a strategy based on customer needs, and to develop the kind of workforce and processes necessary to make strategy a reality, which explains why the Baldrige criteria emphasize results.”

Dr. Pappas believes that concentrating on results helped put the Medical Center’s application into the winner’s circle. “Most health care organizations don't do a particularly good job of functioning as a business,” he asserts. “The CAPE silver award, and the fact that LLUMC received it on its first application, is a testament to the concerted efforts put forth to make LLUMC a patient centered, employee friendly, and process oriented organization."

As the LLUMC CAPE team appreciates the 2007 recognition, they’re setting their sights on the 2008 awards and beyond. “At some point, we will want to enter the Baldridge contest, too, but we would like to win the gold CCE first,” Ms. Mullen notes.

Ruthita Fike, MA, CEO and administrator of the Medical Center, says she is very pleased. “More than anything else,” she said, “this showcases the commitment of our people to make our organization the best that it can be. I am very proud of this award and all the members of the team, physicians and others who made it happen!”

By James Ponder

TODAY news for Thursday, July 28, 2008