Performance Excellence Network Honors Benedictine Health System with Highest Honor

The Network Also Recognizes Eight Other Organizations for Organizational Improvement at May PENworks Conference

The Performance Excellence Network (PEN), formerly the Minnesota Council for Quality, has awarded Duluth-based Benedictine Health System (BHS) with the 2012 Minnesota Performance Excellence Award, Excellence Level. The award, framed from the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, is designed to help organizations assess their processes, determine areas of improvement, and put a plan into place to drive improvement.

This is the first time since 1997 that PEN has named any organization in its three-state service area an award at the Excellence Level. In addition to BHS, PEN has recognized eight organizations for successfully completing the Baldrige-based self-assessment, also designed for organizational improvement. These organizations are: Alexandra House, Blaine, Minn.; Austin Public Schools, Austin, Minn.; Merrick Community Service, St. Paul, Minn.; MPC, Mendota Heights, Minn.; Project for Pride in Living (PPL), Minneapolis; Seagate, Bloomington, Minn.; South Dakota Department of Transportation, Pierre, S.D.; and Stewartville School District, Stewartville, Minn.

These organizations, plus several Baldrige award winners from throughout the country, will be featured at PENworks 2013:  The ROI of Excellence, May 14 and 15, at the Earle Brown Heritage Center, Minneapolis, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. The awards will be presented during the luncheon on May 15.

“Organizations go through the assessment process to identify areas of improvement and assess progress over the long term,” explained Brian Lassiter, president of PEN. “Once an organization goes through the rigorous stages of process improvement, they often see large gains in financial results, customer satisfaction, workforce engagement and operational performance. We congratulate Benedictine Health System for its Excellence Level recognition, and want to also recognize the eight organizations for successfully completing their self-assessments.”

“On behalf of all 6,000 BHS employees who are committed each day to caring for others, we are pleased to accept this important recognition,” said Dale Thompson, CEO, BHS. “Quality long-term care cannot come from regulation and inspection; it comes from a committed group of individuals with a passion for excellence. The Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence has given us a blueprint for excellence and continuous improvement, and we thank the Performance Excellence Network for its assistance, insights and support in our quality journey.”

“By completing a Baldrige application – a journey we started in 2004 – we have looked at processes in all functional areas, providing a balanced understanding of the organization,” added Jeri Reinhardt, BHS Director of Quality. “This review considers how well the leadership, strategy, customer focus, measurement systems, workforce focus and operations are working and how well they are integrated.”

Lassiter continued: “The evaluation and awards process is made possible by the hundreds of volunteer evaluators and judges who dedicate thousands of hours to reviewing applications, conducting site visits, and providing feedback to organizational leaders. Our celebration on May 15 also is dedicated to our committed volunteer evaluators.”

About Benedictine Health System

The Benedictine Health System is a nationally recognized Catholic, nonprofit, mission-directed, values-based health care system providing a full spectrum of health and housing services to aging adults. Based in Duluth, Minn., BHS has served the health care needs of aging adults for over 26 years in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Missouri and Illinois. BHS owns and manages skilled nursing, assisted living and independent living communities, and offers services in areas such as therapy, rehabilitation, memory care, home health care, adult day and transitional care. BHS serves approximately 6,000 aging adults on a daily basis, generates approximately $400 million in annual revenues, employs over 5,000 individuals, and is sponsored by the Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth. Additional information may be found at

About Performance Excellence Network

The Performance Excellence Network was founded in 1987 by the Minnesota Legislature and Governor Rudy Perpich, and was spun off into a private 501(c)3 nonprofit two years later. PEN advances improvement and performance excellence within organizations, individuals and communities. It helps leaders identify strengths and improvement opportunities, and it builds networks that bring information, resources, knowledge and best practices to organizations desiring to improve. The network serves members and organizations in Minnesota and the Dakotas.