In 2008, the Kansas Hospital Association and the Kansas Medical Society met to realize a shared vision of establishing the state as a leader in care outcome excellence. The result of their effort is the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative, a nonprofit organization governed equally by hospital and physician leaders, and an honorable mention for the American Hospital Association's Dick Davidson Quality Milestone Award.

“There has always been a close working relationship between the association and the medical society,” says KHA President and CEO Tom Bell. Although quality of care has always been top of mind for both organizations, “once it became clear that quality was going to affect reimbursement, it made sense to have a joint leadership discussion. We thought if we could create a platform to share best practices with our joint membership, it would be a way to get in front of both,” Bell said.

Guided by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim, the KHC’s goals include developing a statewide strategy by 2017 to optimize the quality, safety and value of Kansas health care; facilitating member hospitals’ improvement through education and resources; serving as a leader and facilitator in the design, collection and evaluation of meaningful quality metrics, with the needs of small rural hospitals in mind; and developing and maintaining a standardized set of outcome and process measures relevant for all Kansas hospitals.

“Since our founding, one of our principal values has been that those who deliver care at the bedside are in an optimal position to improve quality and patient safety,” says Jennifer Scott Koontz, M.D., the KHC’s board chair. The collaborative is now considered the premier leader and facilitator of statewide quality initiatives.

Taking its leadership one step further, in 2014, the KHC, along with the KHA, KMS, the state health department, the office of rural health and other state health care organizations, formed the Kansas Quality Improvement Partnership, a “more specific best-practices opportunity” for providers, Bell said.

In addition, KHC is now one of three organizations leading both a national Practice Transformation Network for physician practices and the nation’s second-largest Hospital Engagement Network, both funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“One of the working assumptions we’ve always had is that if physicians and hospitals can demonstrate at the statewide level that we can work together and agree on things, that sends a strong message to the field that they might be able to do the same,” Bell says. “The more [that] hospitals and doctors can work together on quality, the better it is for those we serve.” 

About the award

The Dick Davidson Quality Milestone Award for Allied Association Leadership is presented annually by the American Hospital Association to a state, regional or metropolitan hospital association, which, through its programs and activities, demonstrates exceptional organizational leadership and innovation in quality improvement and has made significant contributions to the measurable improvement of quality within its geographic area. For full criteria and more information, visit