WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 19, 2009)

The National Quality Forum (NQF) today honored Houston-based Memorial Hermann Health System with the 2009 NQF National Quality Healthcare Award for providing high-quality healthcare by creating a culture of safety and transparency. The award was presented at a celebration in Washington, DC honoring Memorial Hermann attended by healthcare leaders from across the industry.

The annual NQF National Quality Healthcare Award recognizes an exemplary healthcare organization that is achieving meaningful, sustainable quality improvement in healthcare. The 2009 award is presented in partnership with Modern Healthcare and Studer Group.

"Memorial Hermann has truly transformed its systems to create a culture of safety and transparency and stands as a model of coordinated, high-quality healthcare," said NQF president and CEO Janet Corrigan. "They show an exemplary commitment to measuring and reporting progress both internally and externally and sharing information with patients. Memorial Hermann is a shining example of how a focus on measurement, reporting and high quality healthcare can make a real difference in patient care and outcomes."

To improve safety and quality throughout its systems, Memorial Hermann established dashboards to constantly track and compare performance in areas like hospital standardized mortality ratio, hospital-associated infections from catheter-related bloodstream infections, surgical site infections and ventilator- associated pneumonia. In 2008, thanks to these and other safety and quality efforts, Memorial Hermann's hospital standardized mortality ratio was 13.4 points below the national average, or roughly 534 additional lives saved compared to the national average.

"Memorial Hermann's commitment to transparency, safety, and quality improvement is remarkable," said Joel Allison, 2009 Award Chairman, past Award winner and President and CEO of Baylor Health Care System. "They truly stood out as a model of what safe, accountable, coordinated healthcare should be. Other healthcare systems across the country can learn from the way Memorial Hermann serves patients with high-quality, patient-centered care."

The National Quality Healthcare Award recipient is selected through a blinded review by a panel of jurors who score the applications on the following criteria:

Jurors for the 2009 National Quality Healthcare Award were: Chairman Joel Allison, Baylor Health Care System; Vice Chairman George Isham, HealthPartners; Rhonda Anderson, Banner Children's Hospital; Larry Boress, Midwest Business Group on Health; Roki Chauhan, Premera Blue Cross; Carolyn Clancy, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; James Dwyer, Virtua Health; Mitchell Dvorak, Consumers Advancing Patient Safety; Susan Hawkins, Henry Ford Health Systems; Ziad Haydar, Baylor Health Care System; LuAnn Heinen, National Business Group on Health; Sunil Sinha, Pfizer.

"Memorial Hermann stood out as a model of safety and quality in healthcare," said James Dwyer, 2009 Award committee member and executive vice president and chief medical officer of Virtua Health. "The organization's commitment to ongoing improvement and providing quality, patient-centered care is something to be emulated."

Prior recipients of the National Quality Healthcare Award include Baylor Health Care Systems, HealthPartners, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Northwest Memorial Hospital, Trinity Health, and Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network. For a complete list of past recipients visit: qualityforum.org

The National Quality Healthcare Award was created in 1993 as the first award of its kind to recognize outstanding quality-driven healthcare organizations. For 16 years, first through the National Committee for Quality Health Care and now through NQF, the award has provided encouragement for improvements in quality through public recognition of organizations' accomplishments.

The mission of the National Quality Forum is to improve the quality of American healthcare by setting national priorities and goals for performance improvement, endorsing national consensus standards for measuring and publicly reporting on performance, and promoting the attainment of national goals through education and outreach programs. NQF, a non-profit organization (qualityforum.org) with diverse stakeholders across the public and private health sectors, was established in 1999 and is based in Washington, DC.