Baldrige Ebola Link?

Is the Baldrige Award linked to Ebola?

Is there an Ebola link to a Baldrige Site Visit at Texas Presbyterian Hospital Dallas? . . . plus a Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano UPDATE

Another Health Care Embarrassment for the Baldrige Award?

Did Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas (the hospital at the center of the Ebola controversy) cancel a Baldrige Site Visit?  The Dallas Morning News reported: "Presbyterian loses shot at national award amid Ebola case disputes"

Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas Hospital

19 October 2014 CEO Statement Excerpts: "I know that, as an institution, we made mistakes in handling this very difficult challenge . . . the fact that Mr. Duncan had travelled to Africa was not communicated effectively among the care team . . . on the visit to the Emergency Department, we did not correctly diagnose his [Thomas Eric Dalton] symptoms as those of Ebola." Barclay Berdan, CEO, Texas Health Resources

An "Offsite" Site Visit?: Let's hope not but, The Dallas Morning News article reports something that 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 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 knows with certainty what actually occurred and that they inform the public appropriately.

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 precisely why it is 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.

Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas & Baylor-Plano: Why Not Require Evidence of World-Class Performance?

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

  • Bottom Quartile: 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), and

  • Not Big in Texas: US News and World Report HEALTH (September 2014) ranks Baylor-Plano 6th in Dallas and 20th in Texas, 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 Withdraws: Baylor-Plano withdrew from Baldrige Award ceremony amidst publication of patients’ safety allegations related to patient lawsuits that allege botched surgeries (See related article providing insight as to the allegations.),

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 these questions:

  • On what basis did the Baldrige Program select Baylor-Plano as a Baldrige Award winner?, and

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

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