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Greater Baltimore Medical Center Healthcare earns prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, one of five organizations honored nationwide

A woman runs by a "Heroes Work Here" sign outside the Greater Baltimore Medical Center entrance. April 16, 2020
A woman runs by a "Heroes Work Here" sign outside the Greater Baltimore Medical Center entrance. April 16, 2020 (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Greater Baltimore Medical Center Healthcare is the first Maryland health care system to earn the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, an honor given by the U.S. Department of Commerce to just five other organizations across the U.S. for excellence in quality standards.

The nation’s only presidential award for organizational performance excellence, the Malcolm Baldrige award is given to businesses and nonprofits that meet the criteria for industry-leading performance standards set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, which functions under the Commerce department’s auspices.

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The Baldrige criteria are accepted around the world across all industries as the gold standard of quality, the Towson-based health care system said in an announcement.

To earn the Baldrige award, federal examiners evaluated how the hospital focuses on patient engagement, contributes to the social and economic sustainability of their community and leads with the company’s mission, according to a news release.

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“This recognition is the result of our embracement of systems thinking and the expertise, commitment and hard work of our physicians, nurses, other clinicians, support staff and volunteers,” Dr. John Chessare, GBMC Healthcare president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

By following “the disciplined approach of the Baldrige criteria,” GBMC created “reliable systems with reliable outcomes,” said Catherine Hamel, president of GBMC’s Gilchrist hospice center, and the health care system’s executive vice president of continuing care.

GBMC, which in addition to its hospital campus also has 43 primary and speciality care practices in the greater Baltimore area, has maintained the highest rating of five stars from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services since 2017, a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The nonprofit hospital sees more than 23,000 hospital admissions and 52,000 emergency room visits annually.

The five-star rating is based on a composite of scores in mortality, safety of care, readmission, patient experience, effectiveness of care, timeliness of care and efficient use of medical imaging.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross in a statement congratulated the five Baldrige award winners “for committing themselves to performance standards that have demonstrable positive effects on the American business community.” AARP; Oklahoma-based corrosion control business MESA; Elevations Credit Union in Boulder, Colorado; and Wellstar Paulding Hospital in Hiram, Georgia also earned the award.

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