University Hospitals wins American Hospital Association Quest for Quality Prize

The Cleveland-based system was hailed for its commitment to excellence. Cliff Megerian, the system’s CEO, says the staff aims to deliver care with kindness and compassion.

Cliff Megerian, CEO of the University Hospitals Health System in Cleveland, calls winning the top prize from the American Hospital Association “one of the most energizing things that is happening to our employees in quite some time.”

University Hospitals received the Quest for Quality Prize at the AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego this week.

“University Hospitals has instilled a commitment to excellence, transparency and teamwork that can be felt at every level of the organization and every patient who walks through their doors,” said Rick Pollack, the AHA’s president and CEO.

In an AHA video announcing the honor, Megerian said the system’s staff are doing more than practicing medicine.

“We uniformly strive toward giving care that’s characterized by kindness and compassion, where patients as though they’re treated as an individual, not a number,” he said. (Watch the AHA video announcing the prize; the story continues below the video.)

In a panel discussion at the AHA Leadership Summit, Megerian said the system strives to make sure all employees, no matter what their role, see that their job is taking care of patients.

Megerian said the system is “creating a common mission among our caregivers that the noble work we do, caring for our community … that they are the sharp end of the spear to correct a social problem.”

Peter Provonost, chief quality and clinical transformation officer at University Hospitals, said the system’s staff members are humble and curious.

“People are just on fire to learn and improve,” he said.

Megerian said the system has spent more than $3 billion on community benefit over the past few years. He noted the system has set up clinics in areas that have been identified as having higher areas of infant and maternal morbidity.

“We have been very aggressive in finding where there are disparities in care,” Megerian said.

Patricia DePompei, president of UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s and MacDonald Women’s hospital, said, “Our true north is all about what is best for our patients.”

“How do we deliver care that’s equitable, that’s safe, that’s healing, but that also contributes to the fundamental understanding and learning, to creating cures and training the next generation of providers?”

Ochsner Medical Center in Louisiana was a finalist for the AHA’s Quest for Quality Prize. Pollack said “collaboration runs deep” at the system, leading to better outcomes for patients.

WellSpan Health in Pennsylvania was also a finalist for the award. The system dove into its data to improve health equity and is “providing exceptional care, day in and day out,” Pollack said.

NorthShore University HealthSystem in Illinois received a citation of merit. Pollack said NorthShore has found “new and innovative ways to meet their community needs.”