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SEATTLE, Wash. - (Jan. 31, 2008) - Virginia Mason Medical Center won the inaugural Leapfrog Governance for Quality Award this week for the work its board has done to mobilize the organization to improve quality of patient care. The award, given to one hospital or health system in the country annually, was presented at the Leapfrog Conference on the Future of Hospital Governance: Quality at the Leading Edge.

"Since 2004, Virginia Mason has focused on one organizational goal: to ensure the safety of our patients by eliminating avoidable death and injury," said Gary S. Kaplan, MD, chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason. "Our executives, leadership, staff and board members took those words to heart, working diligently to achieve our vision to be the Quality Leader. This week, we’re proud to see the hard work and dedication of our board be recognized by The Leapfrog Group."

"It's exciting to receive this award from The Leapfrog Group," said Tom Van Dawark, board chairman of Virginia Mason Health System. "Our board has been on a long journey to empower staff to improve quality and patient safety at Virginia Mason. To have our work recognized and held up as a leading example of success is very rewarding. This is a shared success with our board and everyone at Virginia Mason who work hard every day to make quality care a priority."

The Leapfrog Governance for Quality Award is based on six criteria:

  • The board receives regular education about health care quality issues.
  • The board is structured to emphasize quality.
  • The board spends significant time at each of its meetings attending to quality.
  • Executive review and compensation are tied to specific quality metrics.
  • The organization can demonstrate improvements in quality and outcomes over the last three years.
  • Focus on quality is evidenced in the board’s approach to finance – both in terms of capital allocation and operating priorities.

The Leapfrog Group is a voluntary program aimed at mobilizing employer purchasing power to alert America's health industry that big leaps in health care safety, quality and customer value will be recognized and rewarded. Among other initiatives, Leapfrog works with its employer members to encourage transparency and easy access to health care information, as well as rewards for hospitals that have a proven record of high-quality care.

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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