Richmond, Va.
Friday, July 3, 2015

Celebration continues for VCU Medical Center’s national safety and quality honor

Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

VCU Medical Center team members gathered Aug. 18 to celebrate the receipt of the American Hospital Association – McKesson Quest for Quality Prize®, the AHA’s top annual honor for leadership and innovation in safety and quality improvement.

AHA President and CEO, Rich Umdenstock, traveled to Richmond to re-present the award to VCU Medical Center at a ceremony and reception. Instead of handing the prize to hospital administrators, it was presented to a group of VCU Health System employees of the year and Safety Stars.

“This is where the work happens,” Umdenstock said. “Health care is a team sport, and it takes a lot of all-stars to make it work.”

Awardees were formally recognized on July 20 in San Diego at the Health Forum and American Hospital Association Leadership Summit. Nationally, four other organizations were honored as finalists and recipients of citations of merit, but the top prize went to VCU Medical Center, which VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., called “one of our most precious and important resources.”

“This [award[ is the pinnacle – the Nobel Peace Prize of hospital quality and safety,” Sheldon Retchin, M.D., CEO of the VCU Health System and senior vice president for health sciences at VCU said. “AHA and McKesson don’t do things small. This is a great big deal, my friends.”

For more than a decade, VCU Medical Center has implemented numerous safety and quality initiatives across the organization, resulting in substantial improvements of patient care, but hospital leaders say there is still room to grow.

“It’s a wonderful affirmation that we are moving in the right direction,” said John Duval, CEO of MCV Hospitals.

Gene N. Peterson, M.D., Ph.D., chief safety and quality officer at VCU Medical Center and associate dean for patient safety and quality care in the VCU School of Medicine, finished the ceremony with a similar message.

“This focus on safety – it cannot change,” he said.

Photo courtesy of University Relations. From left to right: Chris Graham, 2013 Employee of the Year; Susan Beavers, 2010 Employee of the Year; Janet Holloway, 2008 Employee of the Year; Rich Umbdenstock, President and CEO, American Hospital Association; Peaches Brooks-Davis, Safety Star; Karla Batten, 2007 Employee of the Year; Tessa Gaddy Lauter, Safety Star; Theresa Padinjarekuttu, Safety Coach and Safety Star.


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The American Hospital Association has recognized Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center with its top honor for leadership and innovation in safety and quality improvement. VCU Medical Center was selected as the 2014 recipient of the AHA–McKesson Quest for Quality Prize® in part because of training that resulted in a 50 percent reduction in serious safety hospital events, an electronic early warning system that alerts caregivers in real time of a patient’s declining health status and a community clinic that has enhanced care management and care coordination for the sickest, poorest patients.