Linda Kluge Named 2018 Champion of Quality Award Recipient

Alliant Quality Executive Director honored for outstanding contributions to quality improvement


​Washington, D.C. — The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) announced Linda Kluge, RD, LD, CPHQ, as the 2018 recipient of the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award. Kluge, an Executive Director at Alliant Quality, a Quality Innovation Network – Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for Georgia and North Carolina, is recognized for her contributions to quality in long term and post-acute care.

“Linda’s dedication and passion for improving quality have positively impacted thousands of lives,” said Mary Ousley, AHCA Quality Cabinet Co-Chair and namesake of the award. “She’s a role model and quality ambassador. I’m honored to recognize Linda with this award.”

For more than 40 years, Kluge has worked to advance quality performance in the profession. As part of a national effort to encourage patient-centered care, she co-founded the Culture Change Network of Georgia, a group focused on promoting and fostering culture change to improve the quality of life for older Georgians. Under her leadership, a Georgia coalition and advisory board were formed that played a role in the safe reduction of antipsychotic usage in skilled nursing centers throughout the state. She also championed the development of an educational toolkit used by nursing centers nationwide through the initiative Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers (INTERACT®) to reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and hospital readmissions. Kluge received the Distinguished Service Award from Aging Services of Georgia in 2010, and was the recipient of the President’s Mentor Award from the Florida Dietetic Association.

AHCA/NCAL presents the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award to an individual that has made a significant national contribution to advancing quality performance in long term and post-acute care. Recipients display leadership in the development, promotion, and implementation of quality improvement initiatives that have resulted in measurable improvements in the quality of care and quality of life for individuals in long term care.

In 2011, the Friend of Quality Award was renamed the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award to honor the ongoing legacy and commitment to quality care demonstrated by its namesake, Mary Ousley, a licensed nursing center administrator and nurse who has dedicated her life to quality improvement programs in long term care.

Kluge will be presented with the award at AHCA/NCAL’s 69th Annual Convention & Expo in San Diego, California, October 7-10, 2018.

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represent more than 13,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit or