National Quality Award Program
The AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program recognizes
long term and post-acute care centers across the nation that strive for
improved quality care. The program sets high standards for quality based on the
Baldrige Performance Excellence criteria and encourages centers to
commit, achieve, and excel in quality performance.
The program is open exclusively to AHCA/NCAL member
centers in good standing with the organization. With more than 12,000 members,
the program seeks to recognize those centers that are outstanding in their
Applicants may apply for three levels of awards; each
level has its own distinct rigors and requirements for quality and performance
– Commitment to Quality: The first step in the National
Quality Award Program is the Bronze – Commitment to Quality Award. The goal of
this award level is to provide applicants with the tools and resources they
need for continuous performance improvement. Through the Bronze criteria, based
on the Organizational Profile section of the Baldrige Health Care Criteria for
Performance Excellence, members assess their organization’s mission, vision,
and key factors that lead to success.
– Achievement in Quality: The second step in the National
Quality Award Program is the Silver – Achievement in Quality Award. Applicants
are required to receive a Bronze award before applying at the Silver level. At
this level, applicants continue to learn and develop effective approaches that
help improve performance and health care outcomes. In addition to the
Organizational Profile, the Silver criteria includes the basic and select
overall item requirements within the seven categories of the Baldrige Health
Care Criteria for Performance Excellence criteria. Silver applicants provide a
thorough assessment of their systematic approaches and the deployment of these
approaches in these seven key management areas.
– Excellence in Quality:
The final step in the program is the Gold – Excellence in Quality Award. Applicants
are required to receive Bronze and Silver awards before applying at the Gold
level. At this level, applicants must
show superior performance in all areas of the criteria including leadership,
strategic planning, and customer and staff satisfaction. Participation in the Gold level allows
organizations to take their performance excellence journey to a higher level
through their application of the full criteria and the valuable feedback
received through the application process.
Gold applicants address the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence
in Health Care in its entirety.
Quality Award Examiners
Silver and Gold applications are reviewed by volunteer
Senior Examiners and Master Examiners, respectively. Examiners at each level evaluate the
applications following a formal process established by AHCA/NCAL and using the
Baldrige scoring guidelines. Based on their evaluation, applicants receive a
feedback report identifying strengths as well as opportunities for improvement.
AHCA/NCAL welcomes Senior and Master Examiner
applicants with experience in the Baldrige Performance Excellence criteria
and/or application of systematic quality improvement from both within and
outside the long term care profession.
The following is a brief description of duties for
Senior Examiners and Master Examiners. Team compositions and review processes
are subject to change.
Please note that we do not recruit for Bronze
Examiners. Bronze applications are reviewed by a small number of highly trained
Examiners who are selected by AHCA/NCAL for this purpose alone.
Examiners work on 3-4 person Examiner teams. Each team reviews 5-6 Silver
applications (up to 25 pages each), completes a comprehensive feedback report
for each application, and recommends applicants for the Silver Award.
Examiners: Master Examiners work on 3 person Examiner teams.
Each team reviews 1-2 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 at a Gold applicant
organization to verify and clarify strengths and opportunities found within the
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:
in Examiner Training
- All Master Examiners will attend a 2 ½ day
in-person training session from February 22-24, 2016, location TBD.
- Senior Examiners will attend a 2 ½ day
in-person training session from February 24-26, 2016, location TBD.
- Participate in weekly conference calls
with assigned Examiner team during the review period.
- Complete assigned review work on each
application during the review period; on average Examiners report spending a
total of 40-60 hours spent on review work.
- Participate in the in-person review
session (Master Examiners, May 23-25, 2016; Senior Examiner Team Leaders, June 6-8,
Dates (subject to change)
- Master Examiner Training: February 22-24,
2016, location TBD
- Master Examiner (Gold) review period
begins: February 24, 2016
- Senior Examiner Training: February 24-26,
2016, location TBD
- Senior Examiner (Silver) review period
begins: March 4, 2016
- Master Examiner Review Session: May 23-25,
2016, location TBD
- Senior Examiner Team Leader Review
Session: June 6-8, 2016, location TBD
AHCA/NCAL will cover the costs associated with travel
to the training and/or in person review session for all Examiners required to
attend. This includes airfare and hotel accommodations. Breakfast and lunch are
served during the meetings and Examiners also receive a small daily stipend to
offset any additional costs.
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.
New Senior Examiners are chosen based on expertise in
the Baldrige criteria, 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
centers, highly experienced Senior Examiners and individuals with review
experience with other Baldrige-based award programs.
All Examiners must have access to private email, be
proficient in the use of Microsoft Office Products, be able to use Webex, and
online document sharing software (i.e. Box, Dropbox, GoogleDocs, etc.).
There are two parts to the application process.
- Pre-Application Webinar: This is a brief (16 minute) webinar that provides an overview of the
AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award program, Examiner requirements and differences
between this program and other state or national programs. Access the webinar here.
- Examiner Application: This is the online application that all Examiners are required to
submit. Access the application here.
Please see the table below to determine which part of
the application process you need to complete.
Note that the Examiner Application form will ask a series of questions about the pre-application webinar, so you must view it before submitting your application.
|Examiners with other Baldrige program experience (state or national)
||Strongly encouraged, not required
|Examiners with less than two years AHCA/NCAL experience
||Strongly encouraged, not required