St. David's HealthCare earns national award

St. David's HealthCare is the first health care system in Texas to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, St. David's announced Nov. 12.

St. David's, which was recognized for the quality of its entire system of hospitals and facilities, is one of four recipients nationwide to receive the 2014 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the highest presidential honor for recognition of performance and quality. Hill Country Memorial, a standalone hospital in Fredericksburg, also garnered the award.

"We're delighted to be recognized with this award," St. David's president and CEO David Huffstutler said. "Really I think it is as much as anything else an affirmation of the work that has been going on and the success we've been able to achieve in this organization over the last nine or so years."

Huffstutler said St. David's has applied for the award for the past five years, and the organization had to meet intensive requirements to garner it. The 2014 award recipients were selected from 22 applicants, who were evaluated by an independent board of examiners. To obtain the award, applicants had to meet seven areas of criteria, including leadership; strategic planning; customer focus and analysis; and knowledge management. The examiners also conducted site visits at all of St. David's' facilities and interviewed hundreds of employees, Huffstutler said.

The U.S. Congress created the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Program in the 1980s. The purpose of the program is to identify and recognize role-model businesses, establish criteria for evaluating improvement efforts and disseminate and share best practices, according to the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. Malcolm Baldrige served as the U.S. secretary of commerce from 1981 to 1987. His managerial excellence contributed to long-term improvement in economy, efficiency and effectiveness in government, according to the program.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will present the awards to recipients in April at the Quest for Excellence Conference in Maryland. St. David's is the second organization in Austin to ever receive the award. In 2010 management company K&N, which owns Mighty Fine Burgers & Fries and Rudy's BBQ, also received the award.