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California hospitals launch statewide organization

Monday June 17, 2013
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Julianne Morath, RN
A new nonprofit, statewide organization aimed at strengthening hospital-based patient safety and quality improvement activities was launched by the California Hospital Association and the three affiliated regional associations.

The Hospital Quality Institute will integrate all of the existing patient safety and quality improvement programs now under way through CHA — the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California (Hospital Council), the Hospital Association of Southern California, and the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties. Among the programs that will be incorporated into the Hospital Quality Institute will be the California Hospital Patient Safety Organization, Patient Safety First, the California Hospital Engagement Network, and other local and regional patient safety collaboratives.

The institute, which is headquartered in Sacramento, Calif., is led by CEO Julianne Morath, RN, MS. Morath, a nationally known expert in healthcare quality and patient safety with more than three decades of executive and academic experience, joined the institute in March. Most recently, Morath served as chief quality and patient safety officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. She also served in academic positions at the University of Cincinnati, Brown University, the University of Rhode Island and the University of Minnesota.

Before joining Vanderbilt, Morath served as the COO at Childrenís Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and as a system vice president at Allina Health, both based in Minneapolis. While in Minnesota, she was a founder of Safest America, a patient safety collaborative in the upper Midwest.

As a patient safety expert, Morath has participated in the Kennedy School of Governmentís Executive Session on Medical Error and Patient Safety, based at Harvard University. She also was selected as a fellow to the Salzburg Global Seminar on Patient Safety, based in Salzburg, Austria.

Morathís work in the patient safety arena has been featured on the cover of U.S. News & World Report and was the focus of two Harvard Business School case studies in leadership.

Morath serves on the boards of the National Patient Safety Foundation, and Virginia Mason Medical Center and Health System in Seattle. She also is a member of the Board of Commissioners of The Joint Commission, and is a founding member of the Lucian Leape Institute at NPSF.

Morath authored two books on patient safety and quality improvement — "The Quality Advantage" and "To Do No Harm" — and is widely published on the topics of patient safety, quality, leadership and patient/family engagement. She serves on the editorial boards of the Journal for Patient Safety and American Nurse Today.

Among her honors, Morath was the inaugural recipient in 2001 of the John Eisenberg Award for Individual Lifetime Achievement in Patient Safety, awarded by The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum.