Northwestern Medical Center, Inc,Quorum Health Resources (QHR), the nation’s largest hospital management company and the seventh largest healthcare consulting firm in the United States, recently announced the winners of its 2011 Excellence in Leadership awards. Jill Berry Bowen, CEO of Northwestern Medical Center accepted the award for Leadership in Quality Initiatives on behalf of the hospital. Northwestern Medical Center has ‘taken leadership in Quality programs,’ said QHR President and CEO James L. Horrar, ‘In addition to achieving excellent quantitative results, this hospital has been an early adopter of Quality Improvement initiatives implementing; A “Quiet Culture Awareness” program in 2010; participating in a state Quality Program to reduce the number of avoidable admissions to the Emergency Room; and developing a Medical Home Model for Primary Care Services in conjunction with the state’s Blue Print for Health.’ ‘I feel very honored to have received this award on behalf of our staff,’ said Bowen. ‘This award recognizes all of the big and small initiatives we have going on here, and the combination of efforts that are making an impact on the clinical outcomes for our patients. Many of our initiatives have come directly from our staff, who truly care about the patient as a whole.’ The Quiet Culture Awareness program is an example of an initiative that came directly from staff, according to Bowen. The Quiet Culture program aims to raise awareness of noises in the hospital that may interfere with patients’ ability to rest. With greater awareness of sources of noise, staff now takes greater care when using noisy equipment, wearing loud shoes, talking near patient rooms, etc., in order to create a healing environment to patients to recover from illness, surgery, or injury. Reducing the number of avoidable admissions to the Emergency Department (ED) has been another quality initiative at NMC, in cooperation with the State of Vermont’s Act 49 Utilization Review efforts. This project is designed to decrease inappropriate or preventable visits to the ED. After a thorough assessment of ED visits over a twelve month period, the quality improvement team’s initial focus is working with a cohort of patients who each experienced between 16 and 71 ED visits within the past year. The Blueprint for Health is a state led program dedicated to achieving well coordinated and seamless health services, with an emphasis on prevention and wellness, for all Vermonters. The foundation of the Blueprint model is Advanced Primary Care that meets patients and families needs by coordinating seamlessly with a broad range of health and human services. NMC’s role in this initiative is to serve as the lead administrative entity, facilitating the work of committees and participation in the Blueprint at the local level. ‘Our quality initiatives exist not only within the walls of the hospital, but also in the community,’ said Bowen. ‘With initiatives like the Blueprint, we are bringing together teams to focus on the entire patient experience. As long as we are focused on quality care with the patient at the center of our decision making and our initiatives, it will continue to set us apart. We have an incredible team who are focused on making a difference.’ Northwestern Medical Center was one of four QHR hospitals receiving honors for Leadership in Quality Initiatives this year, and one of thirteen QHR hospitals receiving Excellence in Leadership honors, out of 150 QHR hospitals nationwide. For more information about Northwestern Medical Center, visit www.NorthwesternMedicalCenter.org(link is external).