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Sixty-Five U.S. Health Care, Education Groups Send in Applications for Baldrige Quality Award Pilots

Forty-six health care and 19 education organizations have submitted applications as part of pilot programs to determine whether the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award should be expanded to include categories for these two vital sectors of the U.S. economy, the Commerce Department s National Institute of Standards and Technology said today.

"During the past two years of planning the pilot programs with these communities, we knew that health care and education organizations were very interested in applying the benefits of the Baldrige evaluation process to their own needs. This relatively large number of applications for a pilot program with no actual award to be earned tells us that interest is even higher than we had anticipated," said Curt Reimann, director of the Baldrige award program at NIST. Reimann said a Baldrige award program for health care and education could help these organizations improve performance; facilitate communication and sharing of "best practices"; and foster partnerships involving schools, businesses, health care organizations, human service agencies, the growing number of state and local award programs, and others.

A congressional bill (H.R. 1158) proposes to rescind the $600,000 appropriated for these pilot programs from NIST s fiscal year 1995 funding. If this rescission becomes law, the pilot programs might be suspended. If funding is not rescinded, a decision about whether or not to proceed with a full-scale award program for health care and education will depend on many factors, said Reimann, including a successful trial, continuing support from these two sectors, and long-term funding. NIST is working with the health care and education communities to establish a base of long-term, private-sector funding similar to the more than $10 million for the business award raised by the private Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

As part of the pilot programs, each application will be reviewed by a private-sector team of evaluators. Each applicant will receive written feedback, including strengths and areas to improve, regarding its performance management system. If merited and funding is available, site visits will be conducted in October. No awards will be presented in 1995 in these pilot categories. Site visits are conducted by evaluators visiting an applicant s site to verify information in the application and to clarify questions that may have come up during the review. Names of applicants are kept confidential.

As of mid-May, NIST had distributed 16,800 copies of the criteria for the pilot programs—7,100 for health care and 9,700 for education. The criteria are designed to help organizations deliver ever-improving value to customers—primarily students and patients—and improve an organization's overall performance and capabilities.

The criteria focus on seven key categories. For health care, they are leadership, information and analysis, strategic planning, human resource development and management, process management, organizational performance results, and focus on and satisfaction of patients and other stakeholders. For education they are leadership, information and analysis, strategic and operational planning, human resource development and management, educational and business process management, school performance results, and student focus and student and stakeholder satisfaction.

The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award was established in 1987 to promote the importance of quality improvement to the U.S. economy, to recognize quality achievements of U.S. companies and to publicize successful quality strategies.

A non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department s Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards. NIST was selected by Congress to design and manage the Baldrige award program because of its role in helping U.S. companies compete, its world-renowned expertise in measurement and its reputation as an impartial third party.

Released May 30, 1995, Updated November 27, 2017