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SEATTLE - (Sept. 21, 2009) - The National Quality Forum (NQF) and The Joint Commission have announced Gary S. Kaplan, MD, Virginia Mason Medical Center chairman and CEO, is the 2009 John M. Eisenberg Patient Safety and Quality Award for Individual Achievement recipient. This national award, to be presented Oct. 15 in Washington, DC, recognizes individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to improving patient safety and health-care quality.

"The Eisenberg Award shines a spotlight on the front-line work that is occurring worldwide to improve health care quality by making a difference in patient safety," says Mark R. Chassin, MD, MPP, MPH, president, The Joint Commission. "Public commitments, like that of Dr. Kaplan, to safe, reliable care serve as an example for what can be achieved."

In selecting Kaplan, the NQF and The Joint Commission recognize his leadership at Virginia Mason and his work to transform health care by adopting the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS), modeled after the Toyota Production System, as its management method. Kaplan has also spent considerable time educating health-care leaders across the country on the business case for quality and the effect of VMPS on patient safety. VM's achievements under his leadership continue to draw interest and attention from health-care organizations throughout the world.

"This year's winners represent the best of what is possible in improving the safety and quality of health care," says Janet Corrigan, PhD, MBA, president and CEO, National Quality Forum. "People like Dr. Kaplan are at the forefront of their fields and have taken risks to improve health care by addressing the way care is delivered. They have carried on John Eisenberg's commitment to safety and quality and have truly improved health care."

"This recognition confirms we are on the right path at Virginia Mason to provide the best care in the safest environment for our patients and staff," Kaplan said. "Although this is an individual achievement award, I must share this prestigious honor with all our physicians and staff. We know that becoming the Quality Leader means we must change the way health care is delivered. VMPS has helped us improve the experience for our patients, and I cannot imagine being part of anything more important than that."

About The Joint Commission
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 16,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including nearly 9,000 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,200 other health care organizations that provide long term care, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. In addition, The Joint Commission also provides certification of more than 600 disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers, and health care staffing services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at

About the National Quality Forum
The mission of the National Quality Forum is to improve the quality of American healthcare by setting national priorities and goals for performance improvement, endorsing national consensus standards for measuring and publicly reporting on performance, and promoting the attainment of national goals through education and outreach programs. NQF, a non-profit organization ( with diverse stakeholders across the public and private health sectors, was established in 1999 and is based in Washington, DC. 

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a non-profit comprehensive regional health-care system in Seattle that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 440 physicians with a 336-bed acute-care hospital. Virginia Mason operates a network of clinics throughout the Puget Sound area; manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and Chronic Care Management program for people living with HIV and AIDS; and operates Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, internationally recognized in autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason is known for applying manufacturing principles to health care to improve quality and patient safety.

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