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The state’s largest hospital system has become the first entity in West Virginia and the only health-care agency this year to receive the nation’s highest Presidential honor for performance excellence.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker announced Tuesday that Charleston Area Medical Center was one of four recipients of the 2015 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. The award, which is given to businesses and organizations from six sectors, including manufacturing, service, small business, health care, education and nonprofits, is meant to recognize an organization’s “outstanding commitment to sustainable excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership.”

“We have so many local measures of quality that we work diligently on, but the unique thing about Baldrige is that it looks at the entire organization; it looks at many categories — our customers, our vendors, our patients, our entire workforce, our communication processes, our leadership processes — it’s a very complex amount of data,” said Elizabeth Pellegrin, chief marketing director for CAMC. “I think it points to — because the Baldrige criteria is for all types of companies, how we’re performing when compared to other companies all across the United States, including those in health care.”

CAMC has ranked in the top 5 percent for quality inpatient service by Healthgrades, a national service that rates the performance of physicians, hospitals and health care providers, for the last two years, and has received the group’s Distinguished Hospital Award.

An independent board of examiners recommended this year’s Baldrige Award recipients from a field of 26 applicants after evaluating them in seven areas defined by the Baldrige Criteria: leadership; strategy, customers, measurement, analysis and knowledge management, workforce, operations and results.

“CAMC is leading the nation in quality care by providing second-to-none health services at its facilities around West Virginia,” said U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. “Just last month, I had the opportunity to tour CAMC’s new Cancer Center in Charleston, meet with the dedicated doctors and staff and see firsthand the great work they are doing to provide the highest level of comprehensive care to patients.

“This award is a testament to the superior care being offered at CAMC hospitals and facilities and the health system’s deep commitment to quality care and to the communities it serves.”

Saint Francis also announced Tuesday that it had been recognized as a 2015 “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures” by The Joint Commission, the foremost hospital accrediting body in the U.S.

The award recognizes hospitals for improving performance on evidence-based interventions that increase the chances of healthy outcomes for patients with certain conditions. The performance measures evaluated in the recognition program include heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, inpatient psychiatric services, stroke, venous thrombo-embolism, perinatal care, immunization, tobacco treatment and substance use.

“I think it validates all of the work that we’ve done on quality in ensuring that we’re providing quality care; it’s validation of the culture we’re trying to promote,” said Brian Lilly, the vice president for quality for Thomas Health System. “Putting the patient first, making sure they have great outcomes, and following evidence-based medicine that has a proven track record.”

Saint Francis had a cumulative performance rating of 95 percent or above across all of its reported accountability measures. Saint Francis Hospital is one of only 1,043 hospitals out of more than 3,300 eligible hospitals in the United States to achieve the 2014 Top Performer distinction.

“We understand what matters most to patients at Saint Francis Hospital is the quality and safety of the care they receive. That is why we have made it a top priority to improve positive patient outcomes through evidence-based care processes,” said Dan Lauffer, president and CEO of Thomas Health System. “Saint Francis Hospital is proud to be named a ‘Top Performer’ as it recognizes the knowledge, teamwork and dedication of our entire hospital staff.”

Reach Lydia Nuzum at, 304-348-5189 or follow

@lydianuzum on Twitter.

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