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Stacey named chairman of Baldrige board

By Andis Robeznieks
Posted: June 10, 2013 - 2:15 pm ET

Rulon Stacey, president of the University of Colorado Health system, has been appointed chairman of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Overseers.

Stacey, who was No. 88 on Modern Healthcare's list of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare in 2011, will serve as chairman until Feb. 28, 2014, with the possibility of an additional one-year term.

“My appointment is just another indicator of healthcare's leadership in the quality process,” Stacey said. “I believe that the healthcare industry in general and hospitals specifically have really provided a commitment to quality improvement. I think everyone should be proud and I'll try to carry the flag for a couple of years.”

The board serves an advisory role to the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and makes suggestions on improving the Baldrige awards process. Named after Malcolm Baldrige, who served as U.S. secretary of commerce from 1981 until his death in 1987, the awards were established to recognize and promote quality and productivity among U.S. companies. Others on the board include Bryan Bushick, principal at Falcon Health Solutions; Robert Hagans Jr., executive vice president of the AARP; Liza Nickerson Seltzer, executive vice president of performance excellence at Applied Clinical Intelligence; and Paul Westbrook, vice president of patient experience at Inova Health System, Falls Church, Va. The board holds its annual meeting June 13.

Stacey, 53, has been on the board for two years and he said that, in recent years, the majority of applications for the Baldrige award have come from healthcare organizations. He added that he hopes to work with President Barack Obama and the Commerce Department to get other industries re-energized about quality improvement.

The UC Health system was created by Aurora-based University of Colorado Hospital, Colorado Springs-based Memorial Health System and Fort Collins-based Poudre Valley Health System joining together. Poudre Valley won the Baldrige Award in 2008 (PDF). Stacey, who was president and CEO of Poudre Valley at the time, said the award helped validate a quality-improvement program initiated 11 years earlier.

“We were making changes and we knew we were very good, but getting external verification of that helped maintain the motivation to keep improving,” Stacey said. “When you get that external verification it gives everyone a boost and recognition that what they do makes a difference. People are alive today because people were energized to make a difference.”

Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks


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