Leadership in Quality Award honorees announced

Four Kansas health care providers have been recognized with the Leadership in Quality awards for their efforts to improve health care quality, safety, and value. The awards were sponsored by the KAMMCO Foundation and presented jointly by the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative and the Kansas Foundation for Medical Care, Inc. at a ceremony this month in Wichita.

$5,000 was presented to the grand prize winner at the Summit On Quality, thanks to the generous sponsorship of KAMMCO Foundation. A Physician Champion and two Award of Merit winners also were recognized in 2019.

 2019 Leadership in Quality Award — Children's Health Network

 Children's Health Network

Representing Children's Health Network at the awards ceremony were (from second on the left to right) Luke Harris, Director of Operations & Population Health Management; Savannah Lacy, Project Manager; Mary Arnold, Practice Facilitation Specialist; and Morgan Berger, Provider Relations. Presenting the award was (far left) Jerry Slaughter of the KAMMCO Foundation Board of Directors.

Read more about the Children's Health Network

2019 Award of Merit — Nora Elizalde, Bob Wilson Memorial Hospital

 Nora Elizalde

From Bob Wilson Memorial Hospital, which is part of Centura Health (second from left to right): Nora Elizalde, Certified Nurse Midwife, and team member Jill Robinson, Director of Clinical Services. And from St. Catherine Hospital, also part of Centura Health: Nancy Killion, Executive Director Quality/Risk Management, and Cecilia Sherraden, Risk Management Coordinator. Presenting the award was (far left) Jerry Slaughter of the KAMMCO Foundation Board of Directors.

2019 Award of Merit — Niki Lamb, Sumner County Hospital District #1

Niki Lamb

From Sumner County Hospital District #1 (second from left to right): Niki Lamb, Director of Quality Assurance, Infection Control & Risk Management; Teresa Tomlin, administrator; and Brooke Bollman, Director of Finance. Presenting the award was (far left) Jerry Slaughter of the KAMMCO Foundation Board of Directors.

2019 Physician Champion — Craig Concannon

Craig Concannon

Dr. Craig Concannon (left), Beloit Medical Center. Presenting the award was George Stover, Chair of KHC's Board of Directors.

• • •

“KAMMCO Foundation is proud to recognize and reward the quality improvement efforts of Kansas health care providers,” said Jerry Slaughter, who presented the awards on behalf of the KAMMCO Foundation board of directors. “The providers nominated and selected for the awards are truly leaders and innovators in improving the health of communities, enhancing the experience of patients, and helping reduce overall cost of care.”

The honorees were recognized during a ceremony at the 11th Annual Summit on Quality, May 10 in Wichita, which is jointly hosted by the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative (KHC) and the Kansas Foundation for Medical Care, Inc. (KFMC), two organizations that work to advance health care quality improvement across the state. Dr. Concannon accepted his award preceding the event.

Jon Rosell, co-executive director of KHC, said the Leadership in Quality awards were created in 2013 to recognize individuals and organizations in Kansas who dedicate time, energy, and talent to ensure safe, quality care for Kansas patients.

“We congratulate all four of this year’s honorees and are proud of their work here in Kansas,” said Rosell. “The quality improvement work being done by leaders across Kansas is making a difference in the lives of patients, even while it may not come with a ‘quality improvement’ label on it.”

Sarah Irsik-Good, president and CEO of KFMC, said this year’s honorees each pursued unique approaches to improved quality of care and health outcomes. “Each of these leaders have worked to cultivate a culture of patient safety and continuous quality improvement,” Irsik-Good said. “The future of health care is collaboration and patient-centered. The leaders and innovators in this work are constantly evaluating how they can improve care delivery and the patient experience.”

• • •

2019 Leadership in Quality Award winner
Children’s Health Network (CHN) is a clinically integrated pediatric network, which includes Children’s Mercy and 23 community-based pediatric practices (10 located in Kansas). Beginning in 2015, CHN advanced pediatric value-based care by embracing a model, framework, and culture of transparency, continuous improvement, and collaboration. Participating practices have access to a variety of resources to improve quality and reduce cost, including a web-based population health management platform to integrate near-real time data to facilitate pre-visit planning and patient outreach. Practices receive quarterly reports that evaluate their performance along 30 measures as well as the performance of other practices within the network. So far, the network has achieved significant improvement, ranging from 7 to 57 percentage point increases, across 12 of these measures. Four years ago, there was minimal quality improvement or medical home infrastructure in place and little coordination and collaboration across primary care practices. Today, CHN is a national leader in advancing value-based care and outcomes by fully embracing a model, framework, and culture of continuous improvement.

The magnitude and pace of CHN’s quality improvement efforts is truly impressive, said Tom Bell, co-director of the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative. “That kind of change in culture and resulting success—implemented through ongoing process management and improvement efforts—exemplifies the goals Kansas Healthcare Collaborative has set with the Leadership in Quality Award,” he said.

2019 Physician Champion Award winner
This year, the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative also recognized its first Physician Champion; the award reflects the important role physicians play in the quality improvement process and honors an individual who has consistently empowered others on the improvement journey. The 2019 Physician Champion honoree is Dr. Craig Concannon, who received his award at the May KHC board meeting. Dr. Concannon is an internal medicine physician at Beloit Medical Center. In nominating him, his colleagues stressed how critical Dr. Concannon's leadership is in furthering the overall organization's quality improvement efforts. They said he works to empower staff members to be on the leading edge with quality measures. Further, he serves to educate on quality statewide through the Kansas Clinical Improvement Collaborative (KCIC) and belongs to an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). Staff members said there is a culture of pride in being leaders in the state via the clinic ACO, Beloit Medical Center, P.A.—which helps further advance continuous quality improvement.

Award of Merit
Nora Elizalde
is a certified nurse midwife at Bob Wilson Memorial Hospital—which is part of Centura Health—in Ulysses. In nominating her, Nora's colleagues praised her for ensuring expanded access to high-quality prenatal and delivery services across southwest Kansas and the Oklahoma panhandle. In addition to the hospital in Ulysses, she also has a clinic in Liberal and in Guymon, OK—meaning Nora travels more than 500 miles a week treating expectant mothers. Beyond being an exceptional midwife, Nora is uniquely qualified to best treat many women thanks to her Spanish fluency and Mexican heritage. She brings with her empathy, strong listening, and a genuine ability to connect with each one of her patients. Nora embodies whole person, patient-centered care.

Award of Merit
Niki Lamb is a registered nurse and director of quality assurance, infection control, and risk management at Sumner County Hospital District #1 in Caldwell. In nominating her, Niki’s colleagues praised her for continually going above and beyond on behalf of patients. Among her most recent efforts they detailed: a rigorous hand hygiene program; development of a Quality Council; ensuring staff are fully vaccinated; diligent work with staff to maximize use of the EHR; and proactive involvement in the community to promote health and wellness outside of the facility. Her colleagues remarked that “Niki’s passion for the health and wellness of others permeates our facility and our community.”


Download the press release (PDF)

Subscribe to our newsletter for updates on the awards, including the call for nominations for next year's awards.


2018 Leadership in Quality Award

University of Kansas Health System

The 2018 Leadership In Quality Award was presented to The University of Kansas Health System at the Tenth Annual Summit on Quality, May 4, 2017 in Wichita. This award is sponsored by KaMMCO Foundation and includes a $5,000 cash prize.

2018 Awards of Merit

Ascension Via Christi  Random Memorial

Ascension Via Christi, Wichita (left)

Ransom Memorial Hospital, Ottawa 

2017 Leadership in Quality Award

Leadership in QualitySalinaRHC IMG 0355

The 2017 Leadership In Quality Award was presented to Salina Regional Health Center at the Ninth Annual Summit on Quality, May 10, 2017. This award is sponsored by KaMMCO Foundation and includes a $5,000 cash prize.  

Salina Regional Health Center, Salina, KS
(pictured above - Front Row, left to right:  Melinda Schmidt, MBA, BSN, RN, Risk Management Director and Women & Children’s Services Director; Pamela Anderson, MSN, RN, Risk Management Coordinator; Debbie Bruns, BSN, RN, CNN, 4 Medical Clinical Coordinator; Serenity Johnson, MBA, BME, Quality Improvement Coordinator-Hospital; Jonnie Berneking, RN, Quality Improvement Coordinator- Clinics. Back row (l-r): Kendra Tinsley, KHC executive director; Daniel Suiter, MD, KaMMCO Foundation board chair.)

 2017 Awards of Merit

Coffeyville Regional Medical Center            Rooks County Health Center

Coffeyville Regional Medical Center, Coffeyville, KS (pictured on the left - Front Row, left to right: Representing Coffeyville Regional Medical Center: Jennifer DeRosa, Sarah Vaughan, Pilar Davis, Sarah Hoy, Mark Woodring, Abby Lickteig)

Rooks County Health Center, Plainville, KS (pictured on the right - Front Row:  Pam Harmon, RN, CNO; Avery St. Peter, RN, CD Doula, IBCLC Lactation Consultant; Nancy Sterling, RN, OB Nurse Manager; Michele Hinger, RN, Nurse Manager; and Beth Oller, M.D.Second Row:  Frank Rajewski, Rooks County Health Center; CFO, Kendra Tinsley, KHC executive director; Daniel Suiter, MD, KaMMCO Foundation board chair; Lynn Fisher, M.D.; and Stephanie Bjornstad, RN, Quality Coordinator)

2016 Leadership in Quality Award

  • Labette Health, Parsons

2016 Awards of Merit

  • Holton Community Hospital, Holton
  • Newton Medical Center, Newton
  • Phillips County Health System, Phillipsburg



Subscribe to our newsletter for updates on the awards, including the call for nominations for next year's awards.