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Mercy CEO, partners honored at D.C. event

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GINA R. HEINE
April 24, 2008
— The room filled by 100 Mercy Hospital staff erupted in cheers Wednesday afternoon as the health care system was awarded the nation’s highest presidential honor for performance excellence.

“Hey, that’s us!” exclaimed one woman as Javon Bea’s face flashed onto the screen.


The doctors, nurses and other staff watched a Webcast of the 2007 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award presentations live from Washington, D.C.


Bea, the president and chief executive officer of Mercy Health Systems, accepted the award. Fifty Mercy employees—who are referred to as partners—attended the Washington ceremony.


“Today’s a milestone that will live forever in our memories,” Bea said in his acceptance speech in Washington. “It’s really a culmination of almost 20 years of hard work.”


In 1989, Mercy was a single, struggling, standalone hospital. Now, the integrated health care system boasts 64 facilities in 24 communities, he said.


Mercy was one of five organizations to receive the Baldrige award last year. Mercy applied for the award three times before.


Physical therapist Cathy Audorff watched the broadcast with her department colleagues. They’ve become good friends, she said, and that’s one of the reasons she’s worked at Mercy for 28 years.


“There’s just a real sense of pride in all of us,” she said of the award. “We take pride in that we do provide very good care.”


Proud was the feeling echoed from partners around her table.


“Everyone’s worked very hard toward the (Baldrige) goals,” said Debbie Galpin, a physical therapy assistant.


Plastic surgeon Dr. Jacob Gerzenshtein said the award reaffirms the quality he’s known existed since he started at Mercy three years ago.


The award is given by the U.S. Department of Commerce and was presented to the recipients in separate ceremonies with President Bush and Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez.


Bea and two Mercy executives met with Bush in the White House Oval Office.


“He (Bush) really is a great guy,” Bea said in thanking the president in his speech.


“I also want to express my deepest gratitude to the extraordinary Mercy partners,” he said. “I just can’t express it enough—they’re the finest group that I’ve ever worked with in my entire life. It’s an honor for me to call myself a partner with them.”


Mercy selected as one of top 10 healing hospitals

Baptist Healing Trust, based in Nashville, Tenn., recently named Mercy Health System as No. 8 of its Top 10 Healing Hospitals of 2007 .


The choice is based on evaluation of available data, implementation of effective health care strategies and the creation of a compassionate and quality culture for its patients, community members and employees.


Mercy was selected because it has achieved high patient satisfaction scores and for having a balance of quality and compassionate care, according to a news release.



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