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Providence Health & Services, California Wins Top International Award As 'Best of the Best'

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 General News J E 4
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LOS ANGELES, Oct. 19 Providence Health & Services, California, with five major medical centers in the Los Angeles area, was awarded top accolades for its utilization of Six Sigma business practices to improve operations across-the-board and significantly cut costs, all while ensuring the best care for patients.

The Platinum Award for Organizational Business Improvement was given to Providence at the Oct. 14 Global Six Sigma & Business Improvement Awards Gala Dinner in Orlando, Fla.

"This is a big, big award," said Flora Hamilton, director of the annual awards program. "Six Sigma is a great fit for health care because you're using a proven business system to actually save lives."

The Catholic non-profit healthcare organization, which saved about $11 million over two years in streamlining processes, also won the award for Best Achievement of Organizational Business Improvement in Health Care. It was among 12 businesses to win awards, and the single nominee selected for this Platinum honor.

"We are so proud of these awards because they recognize the success of our management team in streamlining everyday processes with the goal of improving care for patients, who come to us at a most vulnerable time," said Myron Berdischewsky, M.D., chief medical officer of Providence California. "This methodic approach has resulted in improvements such as speedier lab tests to minimize the wait in our emergency departments and new policies to ensure accurate doses of medication."

Six Sigma was developed by Motorola, Inc., and the data-driven concepts have been used in the U.S., Great Britain, Canada and India to improve efficiency in the workplace.

Arnold R. Schaffer, vice president and chief executive of Providence California, embraced Six Sigma concepts six years ago. His goal as a pioneer in applying Six Sigma to the healthcare industry was to spur best practices in treating patients, while maintaining a health bottom line. The result was a savings of approximately $11 million in 2006-08. His model also requires successes at one medical center to be translated to sister hospitals.

Imran Chaudhry, regional director of operational excellence, leads the Six Sigma program for the California region.

"I was astounded," Chaudhry said Monday. "It's a true honor that our teams' efforts over the last several years have really paid off."

With the closures of more than 20 hospitals in Los Angeles County in the past decade, Providence continues to ensure the communities it serves maintain access to quality affordable health care.

A 142-bed expansion is under construction at Providence Holy Cross; the state-of-the-art Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center will open early next year at Providence Saint Joseph, and Providence Tarzana, acquired in September 2008, has received $38 million in new equipment. At Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro, the long-term care unit was relocated to more modern facilities.

Providence Health & Services, California employs more than 12,000, and last year treated 1,057,147 patients.

"The judges chose the winners of 12 categories and, on top of that, said Providence was the best of the best," Hamilton said.

About Providence Health & Services, California

Providence Health & Services, California, operates five award-winning medical centers in Southern California: Providence Saint Joseph, Providence Holy Cross, Providence Tarzana, Providence Little Company of Mary Torrance and Providence Little Company of Mary San Pedro medical centers. Providence Health & Services is a nonprofit Catholic organization dedicated to quality, compassionate care for all and to investing in the health of the communities we serve. The Providence medical centers provide a full continuum of health care services.

SOURCE Providence Health & Services
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