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Mid-America Transplant 2021

Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award
2021 Award Recipient, Nonprofit

Mid-America Transplant employees preparing to send out a donor organ.
Credit: Mid-America Transplant

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Highest-Ranking Official*
Diane Brockmeier
President and CEO

Public Affairs Contact

*At time of award

For more information
Mid-America Transplant
1110 Highlands Plaza Dr. East, Suite 100
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 735-8269
Baldrige [at] (Baldrige[at]midamericatransplant[dot]org)

    Mid-America Transplant (MT) is a private, nonprofit organ procurement organization (OPO) and an eye and tissue bank serving 84 counties in three states (Missouri, Illinois, and Arkansas), with a combined population of 4.7 million. Exemplifying its mission “we save lives through excellence in organ and tissue donation,” MT works with its partner hospitals to procure donated organs and tissues and then provide them to transplant centers and tissue processors, both in its designated service area and across the country. With an annual gross revenue of approximately $80 million and a workforce of about 200 employees, MT operates from its headquarters in St. Louis, MO.

    This is the second Baldrige Award for MT; the organization was honored in the same category in 2015.


    • 167% increase in organs transplanted and 350% increase in tissue donors in 2020
    • Among the top-performing OPOs nationwide, with more than 125 organs transplanted annually per 1 million (population) since 2017
    • Overall rates of satisfaction by local organ transplant center and tissue processor customers sustained above 4.5 on a five-point scale since 2017
    • Through the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, results include a very low rate of missed organ referrals (sustained near zero from 2017 through 2020) and a best-possible rate of timely organ referrals (100% done within 90 minutes from the time of the donor’s death)
    • Overall workforce engagement consistently exceeds two external industry comparisons

    Continuous Improvement, Innovation, and Sharing to Benefit the Industry 

    • Mid-America Transplant led the largest industry experience in the utilization of free-standing Organ Recovery Centers with increasing research to drive outcomes.    
    • The organization’s Baldrige journey led to a 167% increase in organs transplanted and a 350% increase in tissue donors through 2020, saving and healing thousands of lives.
    • Since its first Baldrige Award in 2015, MT has continued to help advance its industry through innovations and sharing of its methods and learning. It has published several peer-reviewed articles on its novel approaches in areas where it has cultivated expertise and freely shares its advances in clinical practices to maximize organ use to impact more lives.
    • MT’s innovative, future-focused practices include a partnership with a local nursing college, through which nursing students are educated about MT’s care of donors. In recent years, MT has expanded the initiative to include seven community colleges and universities.
    • MT has forged a local partnership that introduces future funeral home directors to MT’s donor services while financially supporting students’ professional certifications.

    Role-Model Stewardship of Organs/Tissues Donated 

    • MT’s results for organs and tissues donated per 1 million people are in the top 10% of industry comparisons. These results are especially notable given the relatively modest size of MT’s federally designated service area population, which ranks 28th among 57 OPOs across the country.
    • MT has earned a top-level (“Tier 1”) status among the nation’s 57 nonprofit OPOs under a results-based certification rule issued in November 2020 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
    • Demonstrating MT’s values of excellence and stewardship of each donor’s life-saving “gift,” the organization has recently achieved record-setting results for key measures such as the number of organs transplanted annually. For that topline measure, MT is among the top-performing OPOs nationwide, with results above 125 organs per 1 million (population) in 2020 and at or above that level since 2017.
    • Results for hearts, lungs, livers, and pancreata transplanted, respectively, per 1 million people place MT at or above the top 25% of the nation’s OPOs in 2020, and MT’s results for the number of kidneys transplanted per 1 million people are in the top 10% of industry comparisons.

    Systematic Leadership, for Mission Accomplishment and Good Governance

    • A three-phase Leadership System enables senior leaders to drive high performance throughout the organization based on MT’s mission, vision, and values through a set of integrated processes. In phase 1, leaders review feedback gathered from customers and stakeholders; in phase 2, they drive the organizational strategy via a set of aligned communication, planning, development, and management processes; and in phase 3, they measure and monitor organizational performance.
    • MT’s Board of Directors (BOD) self-assessment results for the past three years show performance at or above OPO partners’ comparisons for items such as adherence to mission, financial oversight, strategic oversight, and CEO oversight.
    • Results for regulatory, accreditation, and compliance demonstrate excellent levels sustained over time, with full accreditation achieved from all regulatory bodies identified for multiple years.

    Evolving Strategy for Long-Term Success

    • Through MT’s commitment to continuous improvement, its Strategic Thinking Process has evolved from an annual process with one- and three-year objectives to the establishment in 2019 of the organization’s North Star Vision (NSV). The NSV institutes a strategic performance map that defines milestones and five-year goals for accomplishing the vision.
    • MT identifies relevant data and information for its ongoing planning, which includes environmental scans, customer and market impacts, BOD input, stakeholder feedback, past performance data, and regulatory changes.
    • Demonstrating its strategy for long-term success, MT’s average organ acquisition costs (the fees charged to transplant centers, which are customers to MT) have been sustained at levels that are the second or third lowest in the nation since 2017.

    A Focus on Customer Relationships, Yielding Loyalty and Satisfaction

    • MT leaders emphasize collaboration in relations with key stakeholders, including donor families, hospitals, nonhospital referral sources, and customers, with favorable results sustained since 2017 for loyalty among customers—particularly for MT’s tissue processor and corneal transplant center customers. With tissue processor customers, MT has maintained an expanded number of contracted relationships for the past four years. MT’s corneal customer base grew from around 16 in 2017 to nearly 20 three years later.
    • Levels of overall satisfaction with MT among its key customer groups, as well as among donor families (a stakeholder group), have met or exceeded performance comparisons from a national marketing research firm indicating the industry standard. Overall rates of satisfaction with MT by its local organ transplant center and tissue processor customers have been sustained above 4.5 on a five-point scale since at least 2017.
    • MT’s rates of customer dissatisfaction, customer complaints, and dissatisfaction by service line have been at or near 0% since 2017.

    Engaged Employees, Supported by Communications, Training, and Benefits

    • Senior leaders support high performance by employees through systematic communication and development processes, as well as benefits that are regularly reviewed to ensure that they meet employees’ diverse needs. An example of MT’s uniquely supportive practices are the “Mindful Minutes” conversations that supervisors have with employees to engage them in a deep level of thought and dialogue.
    • Among exemplary results, the rate of employee satisfaction with the benefits package provided by MT has since 2017 exceeded a benchmark from a company that collects data from Baldrige framework-using organizations. MT’s overall workforce engagement rate has consistently exceeded two external industry comparisons (a best-in-class benchmark compiled by an HR-focused company and a benchmark based on Baldrige framework-using organizations).

    Organizational Resilience, Based on Robust Processes

    • MT has sustained progress in achieving its mission even during times of potential or actual disruption, including when the COVID-19 pandemic caused a temporary shutdown of some parts of its facilities and necessitated telework for many employees. For 2020 and 2021 year-to-date, MT broke records for 22 measures. For example, in 2020, MT achieved record-high numbers of organ and tissue donors, organs transplanted, tissue donor authorizations, and bone donors released (a measure of eligible musculoskeletal donations delivered to MT’s tissue processor/customer) per 1 million people.
    • Supply-chain measures that sustained best-possible performance trends in recent years include supply availability and charter flight delays. Results for both measures have been at or near 100% favorable levels since 2017.
    • Workforce-related results demonstrate good performance despite the pandemic. In particular, consistent staffing has enabled MT to meet its needs, by maintaining a reliably steady number of donors per coordinator for organ, tissue, and eye donations—for example, about 15 organ donors per coordinator every year since 2017.   
    • Through the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, results included a very low rate of missed organ referrals (sustained near zero from 2017 through 2020) and a best-possible rate of timely organ referrals (100% done within 90 minutes from the time of the donor’s death).

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    Created November 8, 2021, Updated April 20, 2022