Sullivan Health Department wins award

J. H. Osborne • Dec 26, 2007 at 12:00 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — The Sullivan County Regional Health Department (SCRHD) has been named a 2007 Commitment Award winner in the annual Excellence in Tennessee recognition program administered by the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE).

Gary Mayes, executive director of the health department, said the award is the result of a lot of hard work by department employees — and is another step toward the department’s long-range goal of achieving level four status with TNCPE by 2012.

This year’s recognition, the Commitment Award, is the second level of TNCPE’s four-level award system.

The SCRHD achieved recognition for reaching the first level, the Interest Award, two years ago.

Through an annual evaluation and assessment process, TNCPE recognizes organizations that have achieved the highest standards of excellence in their operations and results. The program uses the Criteria for Performance Excellence established by the Baldrige National Quality Program as the evaluation tool.

This year’s awards will be presented at the 15th annual Excellence in Tennessee Awards Banquet on Feb. 21, 2008, at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs in Franklin, Tenn.

The other two levels of recognition are Achievement and the highest level — the Excellence Award.

“The Tennessee Excellence Awards confirm attainment of a goal that most organizations set but few reach: confirmation of being the best,” said Gov. Phil Bredesen in a written statement announcing SCRHD’s achievement this year. “Winners of these awards have demonstrated a level of organizational aptitude seen in only the most forward-thinking, competitive organizations.”

According to that announcement, recipients of Commitment Awards “have demonstrated progress by identifying and putting in place some key process improvements that are directly attributable to a fact-based improvement process.”

“It is gratifying that Tennessee is home to several of these organizations, and I applaud winners of all levels for demonstrating the quest for business excellence is alive and well in Tennessee,” said Bredesen.

In addition to the Sullivan County Regional Health Department, 13 other organizations will be honored with the Commitment Award, seven have earned the Achievement Award, and seven are Interest Award recipients.

This year, Wellmont Health System, headquartered in Kingsport, will receive the Excellence Award.

“We’re not just honoring businesses, schools, hospitals and nonprofits that are good at what they do now,” said TNCPE President Katie Rawls. “These winners have taken on the challenge of attaining a high level of excellence for the long term. They realize that this is a continuing process and that tools like the Baldrige criteria are available to help them on their journey. It’s this ongoing commitment to excellence that I find truly inspirational.”

According to the TNCPE:

•There is no limit to the number of awards presented annually, but to achieve TNCPE’s prestigious Excellence Award, an organization must demonstrate management excellence through its practices and achievements. To date, 18 regional organizations have attained this “world class” designation of which four — Eastman Chemical Co., Federal Express, Pal’s Sudden Service and Caterpillar Financial Services Inc. — have also achieved the Baldrige National Quality Award.

•Since TNCPE’s creation in 1993, more than 1,000 organizations have progressed through one or more levels of achievement. A Board of Examiners made up of 170 experts in business, education, health care and government assessed this year’s applicants in seven categories: leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; human resource focus; process management; and results.

•The Tennessee program, which is itself a national and international role model, is available to all businesses, educational institutions, health care organizations, government agencies and other nonprofit entities. Melanie Hendricks, vice president for global quality of Cummins Filtration, serves as chair of the 2007 board of directors.

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