Baldrige Health Care Excellence Resources

 Is Baldrige Still About Competitive Health Care Excellence?

Does Baldrige consider what the Washington Post sees as a "national embarrassment" worthy of Presidential honor?

A study funded by the Gates Foundation finds the US ranked last among large nations in health care. This confirms findings from similar studies conducted during past ten years. The majority of Baldrige winners have been from health care an none are ranked a 'top tier' within the US. This sets the stage for an intriguing analogy:

Baldrige Running Major League Baseball Analogy

What if Major League Baseball selected only second-string players from the last place teams for its All Stars Team and honored them as 'role models' for performance excellence in baseball? How is this different from how Baldrige selects its Health Care 'winners'? After all, the US is currently ranked last in health care among large nations (again) and none of the winners are rated "Top Tier" in the US using the studies that Baldrige touts.

Note: This analogy is not intended to infer that the health care winners are not 'good' hospitals. Much like baseball, the second-string players on the last place teams are still good enough to be in the major leagues. However, the Baldrige Mission is to make the US more competitive. It is not clear to this member of the first Baldrige Board of Examiners how establishing 'good but not great' hospitals from the country ranked worst in health care as role models for excellence is ever going to enable the US to become more competitive internationally as originally intended by President Reagan.


Here is information that does not portend well for health care organizations using Baldrige:

Although there are pockets of excellence in all Baldrige Health Care winners, none of the dozens of winners are 'top tier' health care organizations.

There was a time that 'world-class' process performance and results were literally assessment requirements in the Criteria . . . not anymore. US healthcare is ranked last among large nations and none of 20 Baldrige HC Award winners are ranked as top tier providers based on the (Truven Health Care Analytics (Top Hospitals Everest Award) or US News & Report HEALTH (Honor Roll Award). The Mission of the Baldrige Award Program is to improve American competitiveness . . . this can only be done by focusing on achieving world-class performance. The Secretary of Commerce appears to be steering away from the Mission when lower tier health care organizations are honored as “role models” for excellence. Establishing lower tier organizations as role models appears to obstruct achievement of competitiveness. If the Award was refocused on world-class excellence (its Mission), the original integrity of the Award could be restored. And, holding Baldrige once again accountable to a world-class competitiveness Mission, may result in something much more important than making America more competitive and saving trillions of dollars . . . it can save countless lives  . . . the time to refocus the Baldrige Health Care Award away from 'local class excellence' and back to world-class competitive excellence needs to happen now . . .

Good new for Health care organizations thinking about applying for the Baldrige Award and worried that their out-of-control costs will prevent them from winning the Baldrige. You get a pass! Accountability to supplier results performance including Meds, drugs, facilities, equipment, contract workers and services has been reduced more than 90% from their peak before the HC awards began . . . see Supplier Results Reduced Mercilessly. AND, you get to argue that the 10% should be zero percent in the Organizational Profile.


Baldrige appears to advocate the Veterans Administration (VA) as a 'world-best public service role model for health care' . . . really!: The Baldrige Blog appears to have effectively heralded VA as a world-best public service role model for health care based on their use of the Baldrige Criteria for more than 15 years at the very time VA was 'caught-in-the-act' of pervasively falsifying patient wait time records and misidentifying hundreds of veterans' graves! . . . access this apparent 'Baldrige testimonial' Blog link and a summary of this sad state of affairs here.

"Flawed Criteria will defeat a good quality award every time."

Congratulations to customers and Baldrige winners: St. David's HealthCare & Hill Country Memorial!!!


Breaking Badrige: Baldrige's darker side . . .

Another Health Care Embarrassment for the Baldrige Award?

Was Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas (the hospital at the center of the Ebola controversy) selected for a site visit at the time that their first of three Ebola victims was there? . . . and did they cancel the Baldrige Site Visit?  The Dallas Morning News reported: "Presbyterian loses shot at national award amid Ebola case disputes"

A 'Site-less' and 'Visit-less' Site Visit?: Let's hope not . . . but, The Dallas Morning News article also reports something that if correct may be particularly troublesome for the integrity of the Baldrige Award: "Hospital spokesman Wendell Watson said late Saturday that Baldrige officials had expressed concern about its staff’s safety but considered replicating the visit with telephone interviews." If true, an offer to replicate a site validation visit with telephone interviews is unprecedented, inconsistent, and would have given unfair advantage to Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas. We may never know with certainty if this actually occurred because information related to site visits is appropriately confidential . . . so, maybe the Commerce Department should consider an independent investigation to determine if what was reported is accurate. Hopefully, an offer to do a telephone site visit was incorrectly reported and never occurred but it is important to the image and integrity of the award that the Commerce Department know with certainty what actually occurred and that they inform the public to the extent that is appropriate.

Baldrige and Health Care . . . was the separate health care award category strategy introduced several years after the business-focused award program flawed from the beginning?

Baldrige was established to be a "Business" Award: So, why is the Commerce Department sponsoring a separate "health care award" when the Baldrige Award was established by President Reagan for businesses? In fact, that is the reason it was located within the Commerce Department. Why not consider heath care organizations as 'service' organizations as is done in the leading Asian, European, and Middle East Award Programs? Or, is there fear that doing this would result in no 'health care winners'? . . . let's hope not but, if that is indeed true, health care organizations may benefit by understanding how much they need to improve. More importantly, it may help to restore the prestige of the Baldrige Award to the high level it deservedly earned during its early years.

Has the bar for winning the Baldrige Health Care Award been lowered from 'World-Class Great' to merely 'Community Good'?

  • "Worst-In-Class Health Care?": The US Health Care System is again ranked last among large nations (Source: The Commonwealth Fund, June 16, 2014)

  • Ominous Quote: "It is, I guess, PC, widely believed, that to say American health care is the best in the world, It's not." Dr. Donald Berwick, former Baldrige Judge and Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

  • Good not Great?: There are no Baldrige Health Care winners among the Honor Roll (top 17) US HC organizations listed in US News and World Report HEALTH (September 2014) or the 2014 Truven Health Care Analytics "Top Hospitals Everest Award"

  • 3 New HC Winners at the Bottom: Texas is rated by as being in the bottom quartile of "The States With the Worst Healthcare Systems" by The Commonwealth Fund (May 1, 2014) . . . yet Baldrige awarded it highest award to three HC organizations from Texas . . . a fourth Texas HC organization was selected as a finalist in 2014 but the cancelled due to first Ebola patient being there.

  • Not Big in Texas: US News and World Report HEALTH (September 2014) ranks Baylor-Plano 6th in Dallas and 20th in Texas, while Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas is ranked 5th in Dallas and 15th in Texas

  • Patient Safety: Healthgrades gave Baylor-Plano its lowest rating for "Patient Safety: "Death in procedures where mortality is usually low"" (2/27/14)

  • Baylor-Plano became the only Baldrige Winner to Decline to accept the Award: Baylor-Plano declined accepting the Baldrige Award amidst publication of patients’ safety allegations related to patient lawsuits that allege botched surgeries (See related article providing insight as to the allegations.)

Why not require evidence of World-Class Performance as was done in the early years of the award?

Given that at the time of the Baldrige site visit Baylor-Plano management and staff, affected patients, the media, the community, and the local justice system all appear to have been aware of the problems that led Baylor Plano to declining the award, it appears fair to ask:

  • On what basis did the US Secretary of Commerce announce them as a Baldrige winner and cite them as a "role model" of excellence?

Hopefully, the circumstantial evidence above is not representative of Baylor-Plano overall and that we will learn more about the root cause . . . so far, we have not learned more which leaves the impression that those involved are hoping it will go away with time.

Is there an Ebola link to a Baldrige Site Visit and Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas? . . . plus a Baldrige Winner Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano Mystery Baldrige Baylor Plano winner debacle UPDATE

The number of Health Care applicants has dropped 73% compared to 2010

Has the Baldrige Award Gone 'Out of Business'?

For the first time in the 30+ year history of the award, there have been no Baldrige business applicants for a decade
and ineffective program leadership and Criteria degradation and impracticality are looking more and more like the primary causes

Baldrige Program Failure 2022

To put this in perspective, not one of the 20 million for-profit businesses in the United States applied for the Baldrige Award this year.


Even worse, the number of applicants has declined sharply for Health Care and Education since 2010

Source: NIST Baldrige Website

Baldrige-based improvement accelerated and made practical from the most experienced source

Paul Steel

MISSION: Accelerating the total organizational improvement rate beyond the capabilities of all Business Excellence approaches combined. Paul



111019 Paul Laura Lori Sister Mary Jean

Emaar Medical Centre (world's largest health care clinic) in the Dubai Mall (world's largest mall) with Lorna Linehan - Director - and a "doctored" photo of me

Baldrige has been increasingly unsuccessful in engaging business applicants and ineffective marketing is not the reason. The reason for the decline is not ineffective marketing as some think. Please read the link below from a health care perspective:

"Fix the Flawed Criteria and they will come"

Baldrige Program Failure 2022


Dr Bill Dunn Mayo Clinic and Paul Steel

With Dr. Bill Dunn of the Mayo Clinic on a Health Care Project

090721 KL HC Quality Conference - Paul Steel Chairman 090723 Kathy Harris and Paul Steel - KL HC Baldrige Presentation

Paul Steel chairing International Health Care Conference and on stage with the national health care Quality Leaders from ISQua, ASQua, APHM, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, Australia, United States, and India

Also shown: Kathy Harris of Mercy Health System and Paul Steel at their Baldrige Excellence in Health Care Presentation at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre

080221 Baldrige Health Care Seminar - Kuala Lumpur

  'Achieving Health Care Excellence Care' Seminars for Asian health care senior leaders 


Baldrige Health Care Consulting Services



Baldrige Workshops, Presentations and Seminars

Interested in Baldrige Workshops, Presentations and Seminars for Health Care that are not the same old, same old? Learn more

 Singapore General Hospital - Paul Steel

Paul Steel shown at Singapore General Hospital with Integrated Quality System leaders including Sharon Tay

Health Care Events (Examples)

Baldrige Self-Assessment Workshop - 1

Baldrige Self-Assessment Workshop with Health Care delegates

 030612 Premier - Paul Steel - Lori Kirkland - Thom Schamberger 

Paul Steel, Lori Kirkland, and Thom Schamberger at Premier, Inc. during an internal Baldrige site visit

030813 Bronson - Lori Kirkland - Michele Serbenski - Paul Steel 

Lori Kirkland, Michele Serbenski, and nd, Michele Serbenski, and Paul Steel at Bronson Methodist Hospital during internal Baldrige site visit


080807 Prince of Songkla University Hospital Thailand

Prince of Songkla University Hospital Total Integrated Health Care Systems Management Consulting Project - Hat Yai, Thailand

2008 Agnesian HealthCare B    

Paul Steel with Agnesian HealthCare senior leaders during internal site visit

Baldrige Health Care Excellence Resources