News Article

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

15th annual Quality Awards: Celebrating another year of improvements

JCMC pharmacist Paul Lewis (right) was recognized for his improvement project work.

Franklin Woods celebrates their award winners!



KINGSPORT, Tenn. – Mountain States celebrated its 15th annual Quality Awards last week, recognizing the best improvement projects across the system and looking back at the long journey from the program’s beginnings in 2003.

The festive awards banquet, put on by Mountain States’ quality department team, was held at MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center on Jan. 25. There were more than 600 people in attendance and over 1,000 team members were recognized for their efforts on improvement projects. Among the audience was a good contingent from Wellmont Health System, and they were warmly welcomed by Mountain States President/CEO Alan Levine.

Click here to see a photo gallery from the banquet.

Levine also presented the annual Don Jeanes Humanitarian Leadership Award – this time not going to an individual but instead to the entire Mountain States Health Alliance board of directors. (Read more here.) Most of the board was in attendance and came onstage to be recognized for their countless hours of service – all volunteered – particularly in the crucial journey to merge Mountain States and Wellmont into Ballad Health.

The banquet recognized 121 performance improvement projects, including some previous Level 4 and 5 entries that were submitted this time for Hold the Gains recognition. Six projects earned Level 5 honors and 24 more earned Level 4.

"This is evidence we’re continually improving as an organization, and ultimately means we’re improving something for our patients and other customers,” said Tamera Parsons, vice president for quality & performance improvement.

The Best Project Award – which recognizes the most effective and sustainable new project – went to the 6500 Joint Center Acute team at JCMC for “This Is How You Do It: Joint Replacement Infection-Free.” This comprehensive infection-prevention program has sustained zero infections for 28 months, reduced the length of stay and had no readmissions due to infection.

The Hold the Gains Award went to Paul Lewis, JCMC pharmacist, for “Compounded Daraprim: the Solution to a Scandal." After there was a 5,000-percent price increase in the life-saving HIV drug pyrimethamine (Daraprim), Lewis worked with at colleague at ETSU to create a new formula for the drug at a fraction of the cost (now $14!).



Bridging the Gap: Continuity of Care – Russell County Medical Center Adult Pysch Unit

Free Lung Screenings/Early Detection Saves Lives – Indian Path Medical Center Cat Scan Department

Psych Telehealth: Depressing the Cost with Euphoric Savings – Woodridge Hospital’s Respond team

Putting a Hard Stop to Tobacco – Dickenson Community Hospital Geropsych Unit

Sign Here – Norton Community Hospital ICU

Totally Reconciled - Woodridge Psychiatric Hospital Pharmacy

Pam Lature was honored for her long service to the Quality Awards.

Team member Pam Lature was honored for her work behind the scenes in creating and improving the Quality Awards for the last 15 years. Event organizers played popular songs themed to the moment, and Pam, now a VOS core team member, came onstage to the song “Still Crazy After All These Years.”

The Quality Awards were created when Mountain States was only a six-hospital system, and were hatched as a way to not only teach team members about PDCA (plan, do, check, act) and improvement tools, but also as a way to make improvement fun, create engagement, and encourage sharing and recognize improvements.

Along the way, more than 100 team members have been honored as Performance Improvement Champions – team members who support and actively participate on improvement projects in their area and system-wide. Seven more were honored at the banquet:

• Tara Blevins – Franklin Woods Community Hospital

• Lea Mullins – Northeast Market

• Michael Kiser –Northeast Market

• Ethan Collins – Norton Community Hospital

• Morgan May – Johnson City Medical Center

• Mitch Kennedy – Norton Community Hospital & Dickenson Community Hospital

• Dr. Trey Robertson – Franklin Woods Community Hospital

• Mike Metcalf – Mountain States Corporate

James Robinette gave a heartfelt thank-you to the Norton rehab nursing team.Rick Wimberly, David Jones and Deborah Wilkins were recognized for judging the awards the last 10 years or more.

The human element of how our improvement projects directly help people was spotlighted through the stories of Mike Horton and James Robinette, both former patients.

Horton, part of the Mountain States telecommunications team, went to a free lung screening at Indian Path Medical Center, where it was discovered he had lung cancer. It was detected early enough to save his life. At the awards banquet, he helped present the award for Mountain States’ Growth Pillar to team members from Indian Path for their work to increase the number of free lung screenings. Their project was “Free Lung Screenings/Early Detection Saves Lives.”

Robinette lost his legs to amputation. He took the stage along with Norton Community Hospital’s rehab nursing team, and made some touching and inspirational remarks about his recovery, thanking the team that submitted the project “There’s a Better Way to Recover from Amputation!” which improved the ability of amputees to use prosthetics and return to their previous quality of life.

“The staff treats you like family,” Robinette said of Norton’s team, “and they embody the true spirit of healing with care.”

Here are the Mountain States Pillar Award winners:

People Pillar – “We Go To Work,” Norton Community Hospital ICU

Quality Pillar – “There’s a Better Way to Recover from Amputation!” Norton Community Hospital rehab nursing

Service Pillar – “Satisfaction,” Norton Community Hospital med-surg

Finance Pillar – “Brace Yourself,” JCMC 6500 Joint Center Acute

Innovation Pillar – “Expanding Roles Beyond the Norm with Students, Residents & Techs,” JCMC pharmacy

Growth Pillar – IPMC, Monty-Patti McNut, Mike Horton


The storyboard winners were also chosen, with a new category introduced this year – the People’s Choice Award.

Storyboard winners

The AHA Training Center's 'Stayin' Alive With High Quality CPR,' winner of People's Choice in the storyboard competition.1, Belly Button Up! – EKG Timing, Johnson County Community Hospital

2, Recruitment Is Not A Short-Term Strategy, Norton Community Hospital

3, Quality Is In Our Blood, MSHA

People’s Choice – “Staying Alive with High Quality CPR,” by the AHA Training Center


Even though the projects saved lives and costs, both serious matters, there was also plenty of humor in the projects, particularly in the names. A few of the funniest were:

  • “Hindsight is 20-20: MRI Rectal Scan” by Franklin Woods MRI department
  • “The Sound of Liver,” by the JCMC ultrasound department
  • “To Pee or Not to Pee, that is the Question,” by the Johnston Memorial ED

For more information and photos, visit the Quality Awards site on the intranet.