• September 25, 2012

North Dakota health care awards honor facilities for improved care coordination

FARGO — Ten North Dakota health care facilities have been presented with awards for their innovative and groundbreaking efforts to improve the coordination and quality of care delivered to patients, while simultaneously holding down health care costs.

The organizations from throughout the state were honored for their work with an innovative statewide program introduced by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) during the first-annual Innovations in Health Care Awards luncheon at the Ramada Plaza Suites in Fargo on Tuesday, Sept. 25. The awards event was hosted by BCBSND together with the North Dakota Department of Health.

Sanford Fargo received the 2012 Bold Innovator Award for achieving the best results among health care facilities in the state in diabetes care, vascular care and high blood pressure. Sanford Fargo has redesigned its care delivery system, helping the organization improve the health of all patients with a more cohesive patient-centered approach to care. Family Medical Clinic in Lisbon, N.D., received the 2012 Distinctive Innovator Award for Better Health for its use of MediQHome to better track and monitor the health of patients with chronic conditions. The clinic also used MediQHome to identify patients overdue for a colonoscopy, earning the all-female staff the nickname the "Queens of Colonoscopy." Sanford Bismarck was awarded the 2012 Distinctive Award for Care Delivery for how the organization redesigned its practice around MediQHome's patient-centered medical home model of care, increasing care coordination while keeping the focus on the patient. Eight other awards were presented to honorable innovators throughout the state.

"All the winners should be commended for their accomplishments," said Paul von Ebers, president and CEO of BCBSND. "North Dakota providers are succeeding in transforming the state's health care system and putting a greater emphasis on patient care, coordination and quality, while also reducing costs." The awards recognized facilities that are using BCBSND's MediQHome program to lower costs and boost quality in new and exciting ways. MediQHome is a collaborative effort between patients, the state's medical providers and BCBSND to improve quality outcomes for patients and rein in rising health care costs.

MediQHome focuses on common chronic conditions that are costly to treat. More than 70 percent of the state's medical professionals and more than 75 percent of BCBSND members in North Dakota participate in MediQHome.

"Since introducing MediQHome statewide in 2009, we have seen consistent improvements in the quality of care provided to North Dakotans," said Dr. David Hanekom, chief medical officer of MDdatacor whose MDinsight tool allows facilities to share patient information regardless of internal computer system. "The doctors, nurses and health care systems in the state deserve credit for making improvements and helping to transform North Dakota's health care system. Thanks to them and MediQHome, patients are now receiving the right care at the right time for the right reason, which leads to better care coordination and lower costs."

Dr. Paul Grundy, the global director of health care transformation at IBM and an expert on patient-centered medical homes, also presented the keynote address at the awards luncheon. Dr. Grundy spoke about how MediQHome is an example of a North Dakota program that the rest of the country could learn from. "You're the first state in the country where almost every provider in the state is on track, on the road," Grundy said. "What you have achieved is very remarkable. Other states are talking about how to do it, and you just did it. That's what impresses me so much about North Dakota. You all have this can-do attitude and decide, 'If we see a problem, we're going to fix it.'"

Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, von Ebers and North Dakota State Health Officer Dr. Terry Dwelle also spoke during the awards and thanked the state's health care facilities for their contributions to improving North Dakota's health care system.

Below is a list of all the awards that were presented to North Dakota health care facilities:


  • Bold Innovator — Sanford Fargo


  • Distinctive Innovator Award for Care Delivery — Sanford Bismarck
  • Distinctive Innovator Award for Better Health — Family Medical Clinic, Lisbon


Urban providers

  • Continued Efforts of Better Health Care Through Care Coordination — Altru Health System, Grand Forks
  • Innovation Through Commitment and Collaboration — Essentia Health, Fargo
  • Continued Efforts Toward Chronic Disease Management — Trinity Health, Minot
  • Care Management Programs for Diversified Populations — Family Healthcare Center, Fargo
  • Local System Administrator Professional — Tess Schmidt, Sanford Bismarck

Rural providers

  • Best Rural Health Performer Optimal Diabetes Care — Coal Country Community Health Center, Beulah, Center and Towner
  • Best Rural Health Performer Optimal Vascular Care — Great Plains Clinic, Dickinson
  • Best Rural Health Performer Hypertension Control — Valley Community Health Centers, Northwood, Larimore and Grand Forks