updated 9/22/2010 4:16:38 PM ET 2010-09-22T20:16:38

SEATTLE, Sept. 22, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Qualis Health, one of the nation's leading healthcare consulting and care management organizations, was honored today as the winner of the Washington State Quality Award (WSQA), Leadership Level, at the annual Washington State Quality Award Symposium. The prestigious Washington State Quality Award was presented by Wendy Korthius, Ed.D, Director of Accountability and Performance for the Office of Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire.

"We are honored to receive our second Washington State Quality Award. As an organization that strives to support healthcare providers in improving the quality and value of healthcare, we are gratified that independent experts have acknowledged our efforts to improve the quality of our own operations. This special distinction speaks to the level of commitment our employees have demonstrated to achieve performance excellence as we work to improve care in the state of Washington and across the country," said Jonathan Sugarman, MD, MPH, President and CEO of Qualis Health.

For nearly four decades, the organization has served numerous public and private sector agencies to provide high quality care and prudent stewardship of healthcare resources. Long-term clients include state Medicaid agencies, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, several Taft-Hartley union trusts and other healthcare purchasers.

More recently, Qualis Health's forward thinking approach to advancing healthcare quality and value has positioned the organization to be named to lead major initiatives to improve the health of individuals and populations across the country. Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Qualis Health established the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC) for health information technology, which is supporting physicians' practices across the Northwest to adopt and successfully use electronic health records. The Commonwealth Fund selected Qualis Health to lead a five-year initiative to accelerate the transformation to the Patient-Centered Medical Home model of primary care in 65 practices serving vulnerable populations in five states.

The Washington State Quality Awards are based on the national Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, which provides a systems perspective for improving organizational performance. Said Sam Senn, President and Board Chair for WSQA, "The Washington State Quality Award was duly impressed with Qualis Health's leadership commitment to customers' receiving outstanding care and timely service and for being a trustworthy leader in fiscal governance and social responsibility. It is with great pride that we offer Qualis Health the highest level of recognition given this year to any public or private Washington State organization. Others would do well to learn from and emulate Qualis Health's success."

About WSQA

WSQA is a nonprofit organization, authorized by the Washington State Legislature, to promote the success of Washington public and private sector organizations through application of the Malcolm Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence. WSQA has been recognizing high performing organizations for 16 years. In 2001, multiple levels of the award were established to recognize progress along an organization's performance improvement path. The award levels from the highest to the lowest are Excellence Level, Leadership Level, Achievement Level and Certificate of Commitment. In addition, WSQA offers training, conferences, online survey tools and resources.

Qualis Health

Qualis Health is dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare delivery and health outcomes for individuals and populations across the nation. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, the nonprofit healthcare quality improvement and consulting organization strives to achieve performance excellence for our clients by focusing on best practices and providing a range of services that lead to better quality care, high patient and provider satisfaction and greater efficiency. Qualis Health serves as the CMS-designated Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) for Idaho and Washington and also provides care management, quality assessment and improvement and health information technology consulting services across the country. The organization also serves five state Medicaid agencies with support services including care management and health information technology consulting. Qualis Health was named as one of Washington State's "100 Best Companies To Work For" by Seattle Business magazine for 2009.

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