VA medical center wins President's top prize for federal management

The Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center won the President's top prize for quality management this year, the first recipient of the award in three years.

The Grand Junction, Colo. medical center received the 2001 Presidential Award for Quality Friday during the closing luncheon at the Excellence in Government conference in Washington. The agency was praised for creating a patient care system focused on prevention and healthy living and for improving patient safety and claims processing.

"This award reflects a decade of hard work for Grand Junction and the Veterans Affairs Department," said VA Deputy Secretary Dr. Leo S. Mackay Jr. "Grand Junction took us on a journey of excellence." This is the Veterans Affairs Department's first President's Quality Award.

The President's Quality Award program, administered by the Office of Personnel Management since 1988, honors federal organizations with exemplary records in quality management and customer service. The program's top award for quality was last awarded in 1998 to the Defense Contract Management Command in Long Island, N.Y.

A panel of government and private sector quality management specialists choose the winners in a rigorous three-phase process that included a written application review, an on-site visit and a final evaluation.

The Navy Public Works Center in San Diego, Calif. and the Army Corps of Engineers' Engineering and Support Center in Huntsville, Ala. both received awards for quality improvement. The Navy Public Works Center used innovative tools to secure reliable energy during the California energy crisis, while the Corps' Huntsville center pioneered a new technique for locating and evaluating areas containing unexploded munitions.

The merit award went to the 62nd Airlift Wing at McChord Air Force Base in Washington state for saving more than $9 million in contract costs and implementing its "Pilot for a Day" program for children suffering from life-threatening illnesses.

Army Secretary Thomas E. White, who delivered the ceremony's keynote address, encouraged healthy competition among federal organizations to help them achieve excellence in "every single thing they do."

"All the winners honored here focused on communicating with and empowering employees, and taking time to focus on customers' needs," White said.

Award finalists included:

  • Army's 10th Area Support Group, Torii Station, Okinawa, Japan
  • Federal Aviation Administration's Logistics Center, Oklahoma City, Okla.
  • Army's Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, Fort Stewart, Ga.
  • Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va.
  • Army Corps of Engineers Huntington District, Huntington, West Va.
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