Fort Lee clinic wins second place in MEDCOM's Biz Bowl
November 8, 2012
FORT LEE, Va. (Nov. 7) -- Kenner Army Health Clinic recently clinched the runner-up title for the U.S. Army Medical Command's Business Excellence Competition or Biz Bowl and earned an additional $500,000 for the fiscal year 2013 operating budget.
While the Fort Lee community braced itself for Hurricane Sandy, Col. Joseph S. Pina, KAHC commander; Lt. Col. Eric Poulsen, deputy commander for administration; Master Sgt. Douglas Schwab, sergeant major; and Jeff Kavanaugh, a health systems analysis and evaluation specialist, traveled to San Antonio, Texas, Oct. 29 to battle seven other military treatment facilities for the coveted 2012 title.
For more than five years, MEDCOM has continued to advance a "performance-based adjustment model" of MTF funding that rewards and motivates facilities to improve in measures of importance to the Army including medical readiness, access, quality and cost effectiveness, said Poulsen.
Last year, MEDCOM launched its Best MTF Competition which begins with selecting the 16 top performing facilities across the command. KAHC became eligible to compete this year after improvements across the "noble nine" metrics of military treatment facility performance, including patient satisfaction, productivity gains, quality and preventive measures, improvements in care continuity, reductions in emergency room usage and maintaining or exceeding enrollment and workload targets.
The team from Kenner ended FY12 ranked as No. 3 out of 34 facilities across MEDCOM in these nine metrics.
The competition began in early October when each of the 16 teams was given an exam and 60 minutes to answer 193 questions on a wide range of topics in the fields of health care administration, operations, readiness, quality and resource management, Pina said.
"We scored 152 on the exam -- the highest score of all 16 teams," he said. "The test results were used to narrow the field to an 'Elite 8' teams that advanced to the final rounds of competition at Army MEDCOM."
The team, working together against the clock, set out to divide and conquer the categories, said Kavanaugh.
"We each answered specific questions relative to our strengths and expertise," he said.
Each question was answered because there were no penalties for wrong answers, said Schwab.
"We earned points for each of the questions we answered correctly so we made certain they were all answered," he said.
Before traveling to San Antonio, the teams were given a complex case study to review and analyze from a fictitious Summit Army Community Hospital at "Fort Wannabee." Teams were given one week to analyze, prepare and send in a briefing that would be presented by only the final four teams in the third round.
Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, the Army Surgeon General and competition host recognized all of the teams and their accomplishments, Pina said.
"Horoho emphasized that this competition is really about making sure we train and equip our MTFs with the right set of skills to bring the best quality, accessible health care to the Soldiers, Families and other beneficiaries," he said.
The competition in round two kicked off in a "bowl" format with the top-seeded team from Fort Lee facing off against the eighth-seed from Camp Zama, Japan, led by Col. Vivian Hutson, prior commander of KAHC.
After five sets of toss-up and bonus questions, the Fort Lee team advanced to the semi-finals, defeating the Camp Zama team by a score of 125-40.
Other teams faced off head-to-head: Evans Army Community Hospital, Fort Carson, Colo., defeating Bavaria Medical Department Activity, Germany; Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, Fort Campbell, Ky., defeating Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Fort Gordon, Ga., and William Beaumont Army Medical Center, Fort Bliss, Texas; and Fort Huachuca, Az., defeating Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii.
Kenner and the other clinic teams readied their case study presentations while Horoho introduced the panel of judges, including a former surgeon general and secretary of Veteran Affairs, the current deputy surgeon general, a former MEDCOM chief of staff and the current director, TRICARE Regional Office-South.
Each team presented its case study briefings and presentations and in a unanimous vote, the panel selected Fort Lee's team to advance to the final round. In a close and split decision, the other finalist was announced as Fort Campbell and the stage was set.
Fort Campbell's team was led by Col. Paul Cordts, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital commander, who last year led the Fort Stewart team to the final round only to lose to Bavaria.
The final match played out in a Jeopardy-like head-to-head competition.
"We held the lead early," Pina said. "The rest of the match-up went to Fort Campbell who won the final in convincing fashion."
Schwab, whose career has mostly been field-based medicine, said he appreciated the opportunity to participate in the competition.
"It was an eye-opening experience," he said. "During preparation for the competition, I looked deeper into the business operations of an MTF which helps me in my duties here."
Not all was lost, though, as performance incentive checks ranging from $75,000 to $750,000 were distributed by the surgeon general to all eight MTF finalists. Both the winning team and runners-up received engraved trophies, too, Pina said.
"As runner-up this year, Kenner brings home a check for $500,000 that can be reinvested into programs, services, facilities or staff to enhance our support of the Fort Lee community," Pina said. What's most important is that we thank our staff across Kenner and make sure they know that we wouldn't have even been a competitor without all of their combined efforts."