National Quality Forum Names Mountain States Health Alliance Winner of 2012 National Quality Healthcare Award 

AUG 20, 2012

CONTACT: Erin Reese, NQF

National Quality Forum Names Mountain States Health Alliance Winner of 2012 National Quality Healthcare Award

WASHINGTON, DC (August 20, 2012) — The National Quality Forum (NQF) announced today that Mountain States Health Alliance has been named the recipient of its 2012 National Quality Healthcare Award. The award will be presented at the NQF Annual Meeting in Washington, DC in spring 2013.

As part of its mission to improve the quality of healthcare in America, NQF presents the National Quality Healthcare Award annually to an exemplary healthcare organization that has achieved a number of quality focused goals and achievements. Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA), a Johnson City, TN-based healthcare system serving a largely rural community, is the 19th recipient of the annual award and the first healthcare organization in Tennessee to receive the award.

“The focus of this year’s National Quality Healthcare Award was the extent to which an organization is providing patient-centered care and achieving better health outcomes at lower per-capita costs,” said Laura Miller, NQF interim president and CEO, Senior Vice President and COO. “Through their comprehensive planning and successful deployment of programs focusing on continuous quality improvement, Mountain States Health Alliance has illustrated their commitment to providing a positive and safe experience not just for patients, but for their families and caregivers as well.”

MSHA’s commitment to excellence and quality can be seen in all aspects of the system. They have created and utilize a set of ten Patient-Centered Care Guiding Principles illustrating the importance of safe, customized care provided in a transparent manner and openly communicated with the patient, family, and caregivers throughout the course of treatment. Direct engagement with patients and families continues following discharge through hosted support groups and patient events, calls from care providers to patients post-discharge, and the recruitment of former patients and family members to serve on patient advisory committees throughout the system.

MSHA has taken a comprehensive approach to measurement – an increasingly important factor in promoting increased quality and safety within a healthcare system. Performance measures used by MHSA are aligned with the National Quality Strategy. Metrics are reported to internal staff through their quality dashboard on a monthly and annual basis, compared against projected year-to-date targets, and tracked regularly by senior leadership and board members. MSHA staff exhibit a strong commitment to transparency – a Patient Safety Report on the staff intranet page monitors errors, and safety and performance information is regularly made available on a public website. To date, MSHA’s commitment to measurement has led to measureable reductions of waste within the system, providing better value for patients and lowering costs overall.

“At MSHA, our shared vision is to passionately pursue healing of the mind, body and spirit as we create a world class healthcare system,” said Dennis Vonderfecht, president and CEO of MSHA. “We are committed to this vision because our region deserves nothing less than world class, and we are delighted to receive this recognition from the National Quality Forum because it is an affirmation that we are headed in the right direction. The credit for this recognition goes to the thousands of physicians, nurses, team members, board members, and other volunteers who are traveling together on this healthcare journey with MSHA as we all work to fulfill our mission of bringing loving care to healthcare.”

About the National Quality Healthcare Award 

The National Quality Healthcare Award was created in 1993. For 19 years, first through the National Committee for Quality Health Care and now through NQF, the award has provided encouragement for improvements in quality through public recognition of organizations' accomplishments. Most recent recipients include Norton Healthcare in 2011, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in 2010, and Memorial Hermann Healthcare System in 2009.

The NQF National Quality Healthcare Award recipient is selected through a blinded review by a panel of jurors composed of national healthcare experts who represent purchasers, government, health systems, clinicians, and consumers.

Information on award criteria is available online

The National Quality Forum operates under a three-part mission to improve the quality of American healthcare by: 

  • building consensus on national priorities and goals for performance improvement and working in partnership to achieve them;
  • endorsing national consensus standards for measuring and publicly reporting on performance; and
  • promoting the attainment of national goals through education and outreach programs.

For more information, visit

About Mountain States Health Alliance 

Mountain States Health Alliance, a not-for-profit health care organization based in Johnson City, Tenn., operates a family of hospitals serving a 29-county, four-state region (Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Southeastern Kentucky and Western North Carolina). MSHA offers a large tertiary hospital, several community hospitals, two critical access hospitals, rehabilitation, a children’s hospital, a behavioral health hospital, home care and hospice services as well as a comprehensive medical management corporation. Its 13,500 team members, associated physicians and volunteers are committed to its mission of bringing loving care to health care. For more information, visit