Minnesota Hospital Association
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Call for Entries

2020 MHA Awards

For more than 30 years, the Minnesota Hospital Association Awards program has allowed us to focus on our hospital and health system community’s successes.

The Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) seeks nominations for its 36th annual awards program that celebrates outstanding work by Minnesota hospitals and health systems. The deadline to submit a nomination is Friday, March 13. MHA award categories recognize excellence involving community health, best workplace, and patient care, for example. Honors for individuals recognize trustees, volunteers, hospital executives, caregivers and public officials. MHA will notify all entrants whether they have won in mid-April. A reception and dinner for winners will take place Friday, May 29, at the Metropolitan Ballroom in Minneapolis.

Institution Award Criteria

Two MHA members will be honored for each of the institution awards for hospitals. One winner will be chosen among small hospital applicants and one will be chosen among large hospital applicants.

Best Minnesota Hospital Workplace

The Best Minnesota Hospital Workplace Award is designed to honor hospitals that go the extra mile in enhancing employee satisfaction through basic or creative retention strategies. Nominations should describe improvements that have been made to the work environment, retention efforts currently in place and how employee work satisfaction has benefited from these improvements. Judging is based on the following criteria:

  • Creativity, scope and implementation of the retention strategy. (15 points)
  • Verifiable outcomes in employee retention. (10)
  • Demonstrated effectiveness in raising employee morale through a hospital morale tracking system. (5)
  • Potential for applicability in other hospitals. (10)
  • Employee references of improved work environment. (10)

Community Benefit

The Community Benefit Award recognizes hospitals that have distinguished themselves through efforts to improve the health and well-being of their communities. Nominees should describe a program, project, event or initiative that is defined as a community benefit by IRS/VHA guidelines. Judging is based on the following criteria:
  • Promotes and improves the health and well-being of the community. (5 points)
  • Addresses a demonstrated community need. (10)
  • Demonstrates a financial and/or resource investment from the hospital to the community. (10)
  • Demonstrates a creative approach to meeting the community need. (15)
  • Demonstrates a measurable impact on health and well-being of the community. (10)

Innovation of the Year in Patient Care

The Innovation of the Year in Patient Care Award honors hospitals and health systems that have developed or implemented creative, new methods and models for the delivery of patient care. Judging is based on the following criteria:
  • Evidence of spreading and sustaining the progress, practices, ideas and successes throughout the organization and/or region/state. (20)
  • Collaborates with others to promote a culture of excellence (10)
  • Provides data at all levels for continuous improvement (10)
  • Aligns activities and incentives to improve patient care. (10 points)

Quality and Patient Safety Improvement

The Quality and Patient Safety Improvement Award recognizes one small and one large Minnesota hospital that has taken extraordinary and innovative steps to make patient safety a top priority throughout the hospital. The hospital should demonstrate its commitment to creating sustainable safety improvements and establishing a foundation for quality and patient safety at all levels of the hospital. Judging is based on the following criteria:

  • Evidence of spreading and sustaining the progress, practices, ideas and successes throughout the organization and/or region/state. (20 points)
  • Promotes a culture of patient safety. (10 points) 
  • Provides data at all levels for continuous improvement. (10 points) 
  • Demonstrated engagement of patients and families throughout organization. (10 points) 

Individual Awards Criteria


This award recognizes an individual or organization who has demonstrated great courage in their actions on behalf of Minnesota’s hospital patients and their families. As president of MHA for 10 years, Bruce helped catapult Minnesota hospitals’ reputation into the national health policy arena. He led the effort toward transparency and accountability when Minnesota became the first state in the nation to publicly report adverse health events. In 2006, his vision led MHA to create the first statewide report showing the specific benefits that hospitals provide their communities. Bruce showed exceptional courage working on all of these activities while caring for his wife, Denise, as she struggled and showed personal courage with breast cancer. In 2008, Patsy Riley, who worked with Bruce on many of these efforts when she was at Stratis Health, established this award to recognize Bruce’s outstanding leadership and courage in the Minnesota health care community, as well as his commitment and devotion to his family and wife Denise. Judging will be based on the following criteria:
  • Demonstrated leadership and courage in the development of ground-breaking activities to increase patient safety. (20 points)
  • Demonstrated leadership and courage that proactively led to a more transparent and open environment for sharing health care information. (15)
  • Development of programs that showed exceptional attention to issues that focus on improving patient care through advocacy and compassion. (15)

Caregiver(s) of the Year

The Caregiver(s) of the Year Award is designed to honor an individual or caregiving team providing outstanding patient-care services and exemplifying commitment to quality patient care. Judging will be based on the following criteria:
  • Demonstrated outstanding delivery of patient care and participation/leadership in hospital patient services. (20 points)
  • Participation in activities and practices that help increase patient satisfaction. (15)
  • Commitment to the hospital and its community through participation in hospital patient care/community improvement efforts. (15)

Spirit of Advocacy

The Spirit of Advocacy Award honors an MHA member who has provided leadership within his/her organization and served in key roles with the MHA governance structure during the year. Judging is based on the following criteria:
  • Demonstrated leadership in MHA’s governance structure, committees or work groups. (20 points)
  • Grassroots advocacy efforts in his/her facility or community to benefit Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems. (20)
  • Demonstrated leadership at the community level in the promotion of health care issues. (10)

Distinguished Service

This award is named for MHA’s former president, who led the association from 1969-1998. MHA’s highest honor is presented to an executive at an MHA member hospital or health system who has demonstrated a history of significant leadership beyond his/her hospital or system and whose activity has led to the improvement of health care delivery at the state and/or national level. Judging is based on the following criteria:
  • Leadership beyond corporate level that has led to improvement in health care delivery. (20 points)
  • Special contribution to, or leadership in, local, state or national professional organizations. (10)
  • Participation in MHA. (10)
  • Service and commitment to community organizations. (5)
  • Active participation in advocacy efforts. (5)

Trustee of the Year

The Trustee of the Year Award honors a board member of a hospital or health system who has contributed significantly to the health of the community by providing leadership and guidance to the hospital or system board. Judging will be based on the following criteria:
  • Assisted the hospital in design and delivery of services or programs significant to the health and welfare of the community. (20 points)
  • Provided leadership at the local, state or federal level in initiating and promoting cooperative programs among community members who share goals related to the delivery of health services within the community. (20)
  • Demonstrated leadership or involvement in the field of hospital governance. (10)

Volunteer of the Year

The Volunteer of the Year is someone whose activities benefit the well-being of both patients and the hospital, and who stands as an inspirational example of hospital volunteerism. Judging is based on the following criteria:
  • Commitment to hospitals and health care through participation in hospital auxiliary organizations or by directly volunteering within a hospital. (20 points)
  • Participation in activities that benefit the hospital and its patients, serving as a role model of hospital volunteerism. (20)
  • Active leadership position in a state auxiliary or other volunteer organization. (10)

Frequently Asked Questions

Any special instructions for submitting my nomination?

Complete the online registration form. You do not need to send paper copies of your nomination.

Who can submit nominations?

Anyone can nominate health care leaders, hospitals and health systems to receive recognition for their efforts to promote innovation and service to Minnesota. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to self-nominate. Last year’s individual or institution award winners are not eligible to receive the same award in 2020. You are welcome to submit a nomination for a new category. Do not submit a nomination for the same person or program in multiple categories.

How are nominations judged?

Third-party, non-member judges are recruited by MHA to make most of the difficult award decisions. The use of a panel of third-party judges ensures fairness and adequate expertise. Exceptions are:
  • the award for a public official, which is determined by MHA staff;
  • and the award for an associate member, which is determined by MHA staff.

Can people re-apply if they didn’t win in the past year?

Yes. We encourage past nominees to be persistent.

What are the criteria that determine whether a hospital is considered small or large?

For the institution awards, small hospitals are those with fewer than 50 licensed beds. Large hospitals are those with 50 or more licensed beds.

How are award winners recognized?

Award winners are recognized through media relations, publications and MHA’s website. In addition, a dinner will be held where the winners will be recognized on Friday, May 29, at the Metropolitan Ballroom in Minneapolis.

Whom should I contact with questions?

We welcome any questions. Please contact Sarah Bohnet at sbohnet@mnhospitals.org or (651) 603-3494.

What’s new this year?

The MHA Awards nomination form is online again this year! You do not need to send a paper copy of your nomination form and materials.