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National Quality Award Examiners

About the Examiner Program

Silver and Gold applications are reviewed by volunteer Senior Examiners and Master Examiners, respectively. 

Senior Examiners work on 4 person teams evaluating 5-6 Silver applications, up to 25 pages each. Teams evaluate each application using a formal process established by AHCA/NCAL, complete a feedback report identifying strengths as well as opportunities for improvement, and determine whether the application should be recommended to receive a Silver Award.

Master Examiners work on 3 person teams evaluating 1-2 Gold applications, up to 55 pages each. Teams evaluate each application using a formal process established by AHCA/NCAL, complete a feedback report identifying strengths as well as opportunities for improvement, and in some cases, present the application to a Panel of Judges for Site Visit consideration. 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 application. 

Please note that recruitment is not open for Bronze Examiners. Bronze applications are reviewed by a small number of highly trained Examiners who are selected by AHCA/NCAL.

Candidate Experience and Skills

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.

Candidates with prior Examiner experience may apply to serve as a Master Examiners, while individuals new to the Baldrige criteria or without Examiner experience should apply as Senior Examiners. 

Above all, the program looks for individuals that exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Passion for continuous quality improvement
  • Willingness to learn and take feedback
  • Adaptability
  • Ability to work effectively in a team environment
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Strong communication skills- both verbal and written
  • Good time management skills
  • Ability to meet deadlines and work independently

Responsibilities and Time Commitment

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. An overview of Examiner responsibilities is outlined below. All applicants must be willing and able to perform these tasks:

  • Complete a pre-training assignment, estimated to take 8-10 hours. 
  • Attend the in-person training session (takes place in mid-February)
  • 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 40-60 hours on review work. Note that this may be longer for new Examiners unfamiliar with the process.
  • Participate in the in-person review session:
    • Master Examiners (end of May)
    • Senior Examiner Team Leaders (mid June)

Travel Expenses

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.

​Examiners who do not fulfill the duties and responsibilities listed above will not be reimbursed for travel expenses associated with the training and/or review session, and may be asked to reimburse AHCA/NCAL for costs associated with the in-person training.

Selection Criteria

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.).


The deadline to apply as an Examiner for the 2017 program cycle has passed. If you are interested in participating in future program cycles, please submit your name and contact information using the potential Examiner survey​. The program will contact you with information on the 2018 award cycle. 

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