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SEATTLE - (Oct. 14, 2009) - Gary S. Kaplan, MD, chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason Medical Center, received the Harry J. Harwick Lifetime Achievement Award during the Medical Group Management Association's (MGMA) annual conference yesterday in Denver. Each year, the MGMA and the American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE) honor one individual who has made outstanding nationally recognized contributions to health-care administration, delivery and education in his or her career, advancing the field of medical practice management.

"The Harwick award is the ACMPE and MGMA's highest form of recognition, and we are so proud of Dr. Kaplan," said Evelyn Cruz Sroufe, vice chair of Virginia Mason Health System and Virginia Mason Medical Center boards. "He is a very deserving recipient, and shares this honor with all the physicians and staff at VM."

The award is named for the first medical group practice administrator who joined the Mayo Clinic in 1908. Mr. Harwick served in management leadership for 44 years and was a founding member of MGMA and its president in 1928.

Under Kaplan's leadership, Virginia Mason has seen dramatic improvements in patient safety and quality, witnessed a significant improvement in staff satisfaction and brought much attention to the need for transparency in the health-care industry. In the nine years he has served as chairman and CEO, Kaplan has guided the team at VM through a number of key efforts to position the organization as a model other health-care groups can emulate.

Among those efforts are the development of a new physician compact; implementation of a strategic plan that puts the needs of patients as the focus of everything VM does; adoption of a completely innovative management method (Virginia Mason Production System) that emphasizes an organizational commitment to quality and safety; and a dedicated approach to ongoing improvement in communication and staff satisfaction.

Kaplan is being recognized for his many contributions to health care that extend beyond the walls of Virginia Mason. Due largely to his leadership, the VM team regularly hosts visitors from organizations around the globe who are eager to learn about VMPS. He is a member of Health CEOs for Health Reform, a coalition of health-care leaders dedicated to transforming health care and creating a more sustainable health system. Kaplan was invited to the White House earlier this year as part of a select group to discuss health-care reform and share the many achievements the VM team has accomplished through VMPS.

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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