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Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD, Testifies Before Congress

SEATTLE - (Nov. 10, 2011) — Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD, shared the organization's story of successfully leading the nation in improving quality and lowering costs before a hearing of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. 

The hearing was held on Thursday, Nov. 10, and chaired by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D) RI.

Dr. Kaplan was one of only two health care executives in the nation invited to testify. Also appearing at the hearing were Jonathan Blum, deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicare, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Chris Koller, commissioner of the Rhode Island Office of Health Insurance; Greg Poulsen, SVP and chief strategy officer of Intermountain Healthcare of Salt Lake City; and Professor A. Mark Fendrick, MD, University of Michigan Department of Health Management and Policy and co-director of the Center for Value-Based Insurance Design.

In his testimony, Dr. Kaplan told Senators that the adoption of the Virginia Mason Production System (VMPS), which is based on the Toyota Production System, and its emphasis on eliminating waste and defects and measuring performance has been the key to improving quality and lowering costs at Virginia Mason. Examples of improvements realized by applying VMPS cited by Dr. Kaplan include:

  • Saving $11 million in planned capital investment by using space more efficiently and freeing an estimated 25,000 square feet of space using better space design.
  • Reducing inventory costs by $2 million through supply chain expense reduction and standardization efforts.
  • Reducing labor expense in overtime and temporary labor by $500,000 in just one year.
  • Reducing professional liability insurance premiums 56 percent from 2004 to 2010.
  • Reducing the time it takes to report lab test results to the patient by more than 85 percent.
  • Reducing the time from when a patient first calls Virginia Mason's Breast Clinic with a concern to receiving a diagnosis from 21 days to three days. Many patients receive their results on the same day.
  • Reducing annual per capita claims for Boeing by working with the company to develop a model of intensive primary care for its employees.

Virginia Mason has received significant national and international recognition for its efforts to transform health care. The Leapfrog Group named Virginia Mason "Top Hospital of The Decade" for patient safety and quality, a distinction shared with only one other hospital. For the fifth consecutive year, The Leapfrog Group also named Virginia Mason as one of 65 U.S. hospitals to be designated as a "Top Hospital." In addition, Virginia Mason has received HealthGrades' "Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence" four times, including three consecutive years.

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit 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, and Bailey-Boushay House, a skilled-nursing facility and chronic care management program for people with HIV/AIDS. The medical center is affiliated with 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. For more information, visit or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.

For media inquiries, contact:

John Gillespie
Media Relations  
(206) 341-1509 (o)
(206) 402-2822 (m)

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