Menorah Medical Center recognized with Kansas Excellence Award: 11 other businesses, organizations cited for success in pursuit of excellence

Menorah Medical Center, Overland Park, was recognized Tuesday night with the Kansas Excellence Award for its achievements in developing and promoting excellence at the awards banquet of the Kansas Center for Performance Excellence.

Menorah was recognized by the Kansas Center for Performance Excellence at the center's annual awards banquet Dec. 5 in Wichita. Two other businesses were recognized with certificates of progress, seven businesses and organizations received the Certificate of Commitment and two organizations were recognized for their efforts at self-assessment.

The KCPE, managed by Fort Hays State University, is the state affiliate of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program. The Kansas Excellence Award, as with all other state Baldrige affiliates, is the crowning achievement of a process of developing excellence that is monitored and evaluated through several levels, beginning with the self-assessment tool based on the Baldrige criteria and progressing through the levels of commitment and progress.

"We are a changed organization," said Steven D. Wilkinson, president and CEO of Menorah, a 158-bed, acute care HCA Midwest hospital. "We are better for having done this."

Menorah's 700 employees and more than 600 physicians provide care in emergency services, cardiology, oncology, birthing, rehabilitation and outpatient care.

The award examination is based on the three criteria for the Malcolm Baldrige National Program for Performance Excellence Goals: delivering ever-improving value to customers and stakeholders and contributing to organizational sustainability; improving overall organizational effectiveness and capabilities; and providing for organizational and personal learning.

The overall goal is to increase quality of businesses and non-profit institutions. The process can span years, a fact noted by Gene Meyer, chair of the Board of Directors for the KCPE, when he spoke at the awards banquet.
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"Frankly, there are concerns about quality in our country. We want to turn that around in Kansas," he said. Then speaking to the assembled representatives of the businesses and institutions currently engaged in the program, he said, "We need your help in maintaining and increasing the number of applicants."

Jamie Ambrosi, acting deputy director of the Baldrige National Quality Program, also spoke to the need. "The challenges are real," he said, "but there are also successes, and that's what we will build on."

One example of a business that used the Baldrige program to save itself is Cessna, which now has 75 percent of the world market for small aircraft but which once was almost out of business. Kansas Lt. Gov. John Moore, who was once senior vice president of Cessna, spoke about the hard times Cessna endured.

"We used the Baldrige criteria," he said, and made the turn-around. Further, he said, the importance of the KCPE is in the fact that it gives companies a competitive advantage.

Wilkinson said that Menorah will enter the process for the national Baldrige program award. Ambrosi said that more than 70 percent of the national awardees have been through a state-level program and won a state Excellence Award.

In the evaluation process, each applicant must provide information and data on the organization's key processes and results and must demonstrate that the techniques and processes could be replicated or adapted by other organizations. For the Kansas Excellence Award, this means demonstrating, through their practices and achievements, the highest level of excellence and serving as a role model for other Kansas organizations. They are required to share information about their quality improvement strategies.

Applicants and applications are reviewed by a board of examiners and a panel of judges, both drawn from a wide variety of the state's corporations and businesses as well as such institutions as colleges, universities, hospitals and other groups. The value of the process -- from the self-assessment up to the Kansas Excellence Award -- is in the review.

"The work of the examiners and the judges is probably the most important work," said Dr. Chris Crawford, director of KCPE. "We appreciate the contributions you make."

Crawford is also a professor of leadership studies and assistant provost for quality management at Fort Hays State. He has been the KCPE director since April 1, 2006, when FHSU took over management of the organization from American Informatics, a Topeka-based management consulting organization. Dr. John Shoemaker, president, served as the director, and Tina Shoemaker as the associate director, until the hand-off to FHSU. Both stayed on as senior consultants, and Crawford praised them as well.

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"The value-added they put into the process has been just outstanding," said Crawford.

Crawford cited Meyer, the chair of the Board of Directors, for his work in making the changeover successful.

"He was a wonderful board chair to work with," said Crawford. "One of his strong points is that he has been able to mediate differences among the board and drive them to consensus in this transition."

Menorah Medical Center also won recognition at the Certificate of Progress level, along with two Wichita businesses, Aerospace Systems and Components Inc. and Cox Machine Inc.

Seven certificates of commitment were awarded to applicants who demonstrated their commitment to using quality principles:
--Brewster Place Retirement Community, Topeka;
--Harlow Aircraft Manufacturing Inc., Wichita;
--Kansas State University, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Manhattan;
--Kansas State University, Department of Civil Engineering;
--Machining Specialists Inc., Wichita;
--Mitchell County Hospital Health Systems, Beloit; and
--Spirit AeroSystems Inc., Wichita.

Pratt Regional Medical Center, Pratt, and the Sedgwick County Department On Aging, Wichita, were recognized for their work in the beginning level of the process, the self assessment. Organizations can use this tool internally to help them improve their performance and then may submit it to the KCPE for feedback.

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