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Memorial Medical Center Earns Two Quality Excellence Awards from Illinois Health and Hospital Association


Memorial Medical Center has received two top honors in a statewide quality excellence competition sponsored by the Illinois Health and Hospital Association (IHA).

The IHA Institute for Innovations in Care and Quality’s sixth annual Quality Excellence Achievement Awards were presented during the IHA’s Leadership Summit on Sept. 16 in Lombard.

The Springfield nonprofit hospital was recognized for projects that improved care for chest pain patients in the emergency department and for palliative care patients.

Ninety-nine healthcare quality improvement projects were submitted by 54 hospitals and health systems. Entries were judged by a blind review panel of 30 independent quality experts from throughout the United States.

“These recognitions demonstrate the acceleration of our quality efforts for our patients and are a validation that the quality work we’ve been doing is sustainable,” said Charles Callahan, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Memorial Health System. “This external review by national industry experts confirms we are on the right track and achieving results that matter for the patients we serve.”

The IHA recognizes hospitals in four separate categories: urban hospital, rural/critical access hospital, health system and palliative care. Memorial received the top awards in the urban hospital and palliative care categories.

In the palliative care category, Memorial was recognized for its project, “Lean Six Sigma Intervention Reduces Palliative Care Readmissions by 80 Percent in a 500-Bed Urban Academic Medical Center.”

Research has shown that seriously ill patients receive the greatest benefit when a palliative care team is consulted within 24 hours of admission, said project leader Alicia Lehman. By refining the referral process, Memorial reduced the average time for a consult by 86 percent, lowered the patients’ length of stay to 5.4 days from 13.5 days, and reduced the readmission rate for those patients by 80 percent.


In the urban hospital category, Memorial was recognized for its project, “Heart Risk Stratification Model Reduces Length of Stay in an Academic Emergency Department Chest Pain Center by 40 Percent.”

This project reduced the length of stay for chest pain patients in Memorial’s emergency department to 8.8 hours from 14.6 hours, a 40-percent reduction, said project leader Emily Oakes.


In July, Memorial Medical Center was the first Illinois hospital to receive the American Hospital Association’s top national honor for quality and safety, the AHA-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize.

With this year’s awards, Memorial has received a total of four IHA quality awards. In 2014, Memorial Medical Center received the top honor in the urban hospital category for a project that reduced the number of red blood cell transfusions by nearly a third, which sped treatment delivery, decreased adverse transfusion reactions and produced a $2.8 million cost savings.

In 2013, Memorial Health System, the parent organization for Memorial Medical Center and six other affiliates, received the top quality award in the healthcare system category for work directed at reducing hospital-acquired pressure ulcers.