November 25, 2020

Hospital is first healthcare organization in Georgia – and second organization in the state – to receive the award


Wellstar Health System, one of Georgia’s largest and most integrated healthcare systems, today announced that Wellstar Paulding Hospital has been awarded the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest level of recognition for performance excellence. Wellstar Paulding Hospital is the first healthcare organization in the state of Georgia to receive this award and the second organization in Georgia to ever receive it. The award is the nation’s only presidential award for performance excellence, recognizing U.S. organizations and businesses that have shown an unceasing drive for innovative solutions to complex challenges, visionary leadership, and operational excellence.

“We are honored that Wellstar Paulding Hospital, one of 11 hospitals in our system, is the first healthcare organization in the state to receive this award,” said Candice L. Saunders, president and CEO of Wellstar Health System. “This recognition is the result of our physicians, caregivers, and team members uniting around our shared vision – to deliver world-class healthcare to every person, every time. We are so proud of the Wellstar Paulding team for exemplifying what it means to be neighbors caring for neighbors and we are also grateful for the important work they do caring for their community.”

Named after Malcolm Baldrige, the 26th Secretary of Commerce, the Baldrige Award was established by Congress in 1987 to enhance the competitiveness and performance of U.S. businesses. Since the first group was recognized in 1988, 134 national-level awards have been presented to 124 organizations. The awards are handed out annually by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and are considered the most prestigious U.S. recognition of quality performance. The six categories in which the awards are given include manufacturing, service, small business, education, nonprofit and healthcare — the category in which Wellstar Paulding Hospital won.

“Our team at Wellstar Paulding Hospital is honored and humbled to receive this award. Participating in the Baldrige program has challenged us to meet and exceed the high standards set by the organization,” said Wellstar Paulding Hospital President John Kueven. “We are committed to continually pursuing excellence and improving our processes while remaining focused on our mission to enhance the health and well-being of every person we serve.”

Highlights of Award-Winning Achievements Following a comprehensive virtual site visit, Baldrige Award examiners noted several outstanding achievements that led to their choice of Wellstar Paulding Hospital as one of the six national award recipients for 2020, including:

• Top 10% performance for its mortality index and for inpatient complications index within the national IBM Watson Health Top 100 Hospitals ® index.

• Top 10% in the nation for a sustained pressure ulcer rate of zero.

• Top 10% performance in the nation and rates in the top 100 of 1,800 organizations in all industries for team member engagement based on The Great Place to Work ® Trust Index © survey results.

Previously, Wellstar Paulding Hospital received the 2019 Oglethorpe Award – Georgia’s highest level of recognition for organizational performance excellence and a milestone on the national Baldrige Award journey.

NIST manages the Baldrige Award in cooperation with the private sector. An independent panel of judges reviewed the evaluations performed by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program’s all-volunteer Board of Examiners and recommended this year’s award recipients from a field of 20 applicants. The expert Baldrige judges evaluate organizations in seven areas defined by the Baldrige Excellence Framework: leadership; strategy; customers; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce; operations; and results.

ABOUT WELLSTAR HEALTH SYSTEM At Wellstar, people are at the center of everything we do. By listening actively to what people want, need and expect from their healthcare, Wellstar is able to provide “More than Healthcare. PeopleCare.” — at every age and stage. Nationally ranked and locally recognized for our personal, high-quality care, inclusive culture, and exceptional doctors and team members, Wellstar provides access to compassionate, high-quality care through our: 11 hospitals; 300+ medical office locations; 9 cancer centers; 74 rehabilitation centers; 3 hospice facilities; 1 retirement village; 29 imaging centers; 16 urgent care locations; and 5 health parks. As one of the largest and most integrated healthcare systems in Georgia, Wellstar is growing our services, footprint, capabilities, and ability to meet evolving patient needs. Our passion for people extends into the communities we serve. As a not-for-profit health system, we thoughtfully reinvest annually in prevention and wellness programs, as well as charity care for eligible patients. Our Wellstar Foundation also supports our mission to enhance the health and well-being of every person we serve with funding for equipment, services, and programs that provide more than healthcare. To learn more about how Wellstar is always listening, learning, and tailoring care to meet patients’ individual needs, visit