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SEATTLE - (June 5, 2009) — Virginia Mason Medical Center and its Chairman and CEO, Gary S. Kaplan, MD, were honored last night as recipients of the 2009 Human Relations Award from the Seattle chapter of the American Jewish Committee. The award recognizes VM and Kaplan for reflecting AJC's social justice principles by contributing significantly to the transformation of health care and focusing on quality, access and affordability.

"On behalf of our team of doctors, nurses and staff at Virginia Mason, I am humbled and extremely grateful to the American Jewish Committee for this prestigious honor," Kaplan said. "As the oldest human relations organization in the country, AJC's recognition is a powerful confirmation that we are doing the right things for the right reasons at Virginia Mason."

That means putting patients' needs first and building a system that never stops looking for ways to improve the health-care experience, Kaplan explained.

"Eight years ago, we at Virginia Mason started down a path we believe is making major contributions in the transformation of health care," Kaplan said. "Our vision evolved from the experience of serving our community for more than 80 years with a focus on quality, access and affordability. This long track record of service has given us insight into how much of the health care delivery processes could be streamlined and improved for better efficiency and cost reductions."

VM's adoption of the Toyota Production System has garnered international recognition for creating processes that help achieve levels of safety, effectiveness and efficiency that many had considered unattainable. A major breakthrough came when VM joined employers, providers and health plans in a transparent, innovative environment of mutual accountability. Their purpose was to tackle medical conditions of high cost to employers with a sharp focus on reducing the variation in quality and access that drives much of health care's expense. The effort has shown that providers can reduce the cost of heath care by improving quality and access. Patient satisfaction has increased as consumers are able to see their provider more quickly at a lowered cost, with better outcomes.

"We are well on the road to pioneering a system that offers health-care delivery and aligns health-care financing with value in a way that will enable all Americans to benefit from high-quality care at an affordable price," Kaplan said.

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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