The AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award is a distinction given to AHCA/NCAL member organizations that are able to meet the criteria of systematic quality improvement. The program criteria are modeled after criteria from the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, which is the nation’s premier recognition for quality achievement. The Quality Award is designed to support continuous quality improvement efforts in the long term care profession by promoting quality awareness and education, and to recognize special achievements.
The AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program was designed as a progressive three-step program. Organizations are able to apply for recognition and awards at three levels, each of which requires a more detailed and comprehensive demonstration of quality integration and performance. There is no pre-determined number of awards given each year. All applicants that are deemed to have met the demands of the criteria of the level at which they apply will receive the award at that level.
Bronze – Commitment to Quality - At this level, applicants describe their mission, characteristics, and key challenges, which are embodied in the Organizational Profile of the Baldrige criteria. The objective of this step is to provide a context for understanding the organization and its approach to performance improvement.
Silver – Achievement in Quality - At this level, organizations that have previously received a Bronze award will address the seven Baldrige Categories and the basic item requirements within these categories along with an updated Organizational Profile. Applicants describe the approaches they systematically use, how they deploy these approaches, how the organizations learn for continual improvement and how approaches are integrated.
Gold – Excellence in Quality - At this level, organizations that have previously received the Silver award address the Baldrige Health Care Criteria for Performance Excellence in its entirety. The objective of this step is to demonstrate superior performance in health care, customer satisfaction, financial, market, workforce, process, and leadership outcomes over time.
National Quality Award Examiners
Silver and Gold applications are reviewed by Senior Examiners and Master Examiners, respectively. Based on their evaluation, every applicant receives a feedback report identifying strengths as well as areas for improvement. Awards are given based on the recommendations of the Examiners.
AHCA/NCAL welcomes Senior and Master Examiner applicants with experience in the application of systematic quality improvement from both within and outside the long term care profession. The following is a briefing of duties for Senior Examiners and Master Examiners. Team compositions and review processes are subject to change:
- Senior Examiners: Senior Examiners work on 3-4 person Examiner teams. Each team reviews 6-8 Silver applications (up to 20 pages each), completes a comprehensive feedback report for each application, and recommends applicants for the Silver award.
- Master Examiners: Master Examiners work on 3 person Examiner teams. Each team reviews 4-5 Gold applications (up to 55 pages each), completes a comprehensive feedback report for each application, and recommends applicants to a Panel of Judges who will make all final Site Visit and Award decisions. Master Examiners may also be asked to conduct a site visit to a Gold facility to verify and clarify strengths and opportunities found within the application.Please note that we do not recruit for Bronze Examiners. Bronze applications are reviewed by a small number of highly trained Examiners who are hired by AHCA/NCAL for this purpose alone.
The review process requires a significant investment of time. Applicants must secure support from the leadership of their organization before applying to become an Examiner. Applicants must be prepared to make the following time commitments:
- Participate in 4-6 hours of webinar-based training sessions; webinars are recorded and can be accessed at any time
- Attend the in-person training session on February 13-14, 2013 in San Antonio, TX (Team Leader and Master Examiner applicants only)
- Participate in weekly conference calls with Examiner team during the review period
- Complete assigned review work on each application during the review period; Examiners estimate 8-10 hours per application
- Participate in the on-site review session (Master Examiners, May 28-30, 2013; Senior Examiners, June 10-13, 2013)
Key Dates (subject to change)
- Team Leader and Master Examiner Training: February 13-14, 2013, San Antonio, TX
- Gold applications distributed to Master Examiners: March 04, 2013
- Silver applications distributed to Senior Examiners: March 18, 2013
- Master Examiner Review Session: May 28 – 30, 2013
- Senior Examiner Review Session: June 10 – 13, 2013
Unable to participate in the on-site Senior or Master Examiner Review Session? We are looking for Examiners willing to participate in the review process without attending the review session. Please complete the electronic application and send an email to email@example.com.
All Examiners (returning and new) are required to complete the Examiner Application form.
Returning Examiners are selected based on previous service. The evaluation process for returning Examiners relies on the results of the peer review process. Examiners are chosen based on competence, understanding of the criteria, ability to work as a team member, honoring guidelines and timelines, quality of feedback reports, and overall commitment to the program.
Senior Examiners are chosen based on expertise in the quality discipline, success in leadership of award-recipient organizations, interest in systematic quality improvement, and other salient factors.
Master Examiners are selected from Gold recipient facilities, from recommendations by current Master Examiners and highly experienced Senior Examiners. Additionally, individuals with review experience with other Baldrige-based award programs are considered.
All Examiners must have access to private email and be proficient in the use of Microsoft Word.
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