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Children's Health: (210) 358-5437
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About University Health System
Awards & Distinctions

Ranked No. 2 in the world for BEST learning workplaceUniversity Health System ranked No. 2 in the world for BEST learning workplace

University Health System is ranked second in the world for the quality and success of its workforce learning programs, according to the Association for Talent Development’s 2014 BEST Awards program, and is among 46 organizations from six countries to receive a 2014 BEST Award. University Health System competed against nearly 100 organizations from 14 countries.  Every organization submitted quantitative and qualitative information about their learning and talent development practices and programs. Applications were judged in a blind review by members of the BEST Awards advisory committee, a select group of experts in the field.

“The prestigious ranking honors our employees for their initiative and commitment to learning and development,” said George B. Hernández Jr., president and CEO of University Health System. “This achievement is a reflection of the level of innovative learning that occurs across all levels of our Health System.”


University Hospital is one of America’s Best HospitalsU.S. News & World Report has named University Hospital best in San Antonio, No. 6 in Texas, and among the top 50 in the country for the care of patients with kidney disease in its 25th annual Best Hospitals rankings. The prestigious rankings recognize hospitals that excel in treating the most challenging patients. University Health System is in elite company as one of just 3 percent of U.S. hospitals to earn a national Top 50 ranking in any specialty. The health system is also among the 13 percent of hospitals recognized as high-performing in their regions. For South Texas, University Health System is recognized for excellence in the areas of cancer, diabetes and endocrinology, gynecology, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology.


MOST WIRED 2012 Health Care's Most Wired Hospitals

University Health System has again been named one of the nation’s Most Wired Hospitals and Health Systems, a list based on the Most Wired Survey by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine. It is the sixth time University Health System has been included on the list. The survey is designed to measure the level of IT adoption in U.S. hospitals and health systems, and is a useful tool for hospital and health system leadership to map their IT strategic plans. Most Wired hospitals lead the way in using IT to hardwire evidence-based practices to improve quality and patient safety, in converting data into action through analytics for clinical and business decision-making, and in integrating services through medical homes and health information exchanges.



University Health System was awarded Gold-level Recognition through the Healthy Workplace Recognition Program of the San Antonio Business Group on Health and the Mayor’s Fitness Council.

The award is given to employers for their work to improve employees’ health through their worksite wellness initiatives. Employers must demonstrate senior management support for wellness programs and a company culture that encourages health and wellness, health promotion and education, physical activity, good nutrition and smoking cessation programs, among other benefits.



Stroke Gold Plus awardUniversity Hospital has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get with the Guidelines-Stroke Gold plus Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment and success in providing excellent care for stroke patients by following evidence-based guidelines. To receive the award, University Hospital achieved 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality Achievement indicators for three or more consecutive years, and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with six of 10 quality measures. These measures include clot-busting medication, anticoagulation therapy, cholesterol-reducing drugs and smoking cessation — all aimed at reducing death and disability, and improving the lives of stroke patients.

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LEED Gold award University Health System’s new clinical building at the historic Robert B. Green Campus has been awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold Certification for its environmentally friendly design and construction. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized rating system that provides third-party verification of green buildings. Those ratings are based on factors such as sustainability, water and energy efficiency, materials use and indoor air quality. The six-story clinical building, which opened in January 2013, was designed by the architectural team of RTKL and Overland Partners.

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Magnet Recognition - American NursesCredentialing Center logoUniversity Health System is the first and only health system in San Antonio and South Texas to earn Magnet status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

This prestigious recognition is the result of a comprehensive "Magnet Journey" that spanned more than five years. The unanimous decision of the ANCC evaluation committee was announced on February 17, 2010. University Health System is one of 360 Magnet institutions worldwide and just the 24th in Texas. It is an elite group - just six percent of the nation’s hospitals have earned this designation. Magnet is widely accepted as the "gold standard" in measuring the quality of care that healthcare consumers can expect to receive

Magnet hospitals and health systems attract the best nurses and health professionals. They also offer patients reassurance they are being cared for by a team with a proven track record for providing excellent care and positive outcomes for their patients. The recognition is also a reflection of the support the nursing staff receives in order to fulfill the health system’s mission.

The Magnet Recognition Program® was created in 1983 by the ANCC, a subsidiary of the American Nurses Association and the world’s largest and most prestigious nurse credentialing organization. Through a complex application and review process, including an intensive three‐day onsite survey, University Health System successfully demonstrated its commitment to providing excellent care for all patients, sustaining nursing excellence and transforming the culture of a work environment.

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Certified in Palliative CareUniversity Health System is only the third healthcare organization in Texas to achieve Advanced Certification in Palliative Care from the Joint Commission, the national accrediting body for hospitals. Palliative care is a holistic approach involving a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses and other professionals to relieve pain and improve the quality of life for patients suffering from a serious illness. Its focus includes the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients. The Joint Commission began the Advanced Certification Program for Palliative Care in September 2011. It recognizes hospital inpatient programs that demonstrate exceptional patient and family-centered care and improves the quality of life for patients of all ages. Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas and Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth are the only other two Texas hospitals to be certified in palliative care.

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BEACON AWARD FOR CRITICAL CARE EXCELLENCEBeacon Award for Critical Care Excellence logo
University Hospital’s Transplant Intensive Care Unit (TICU) received the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). The TICU team is the first intensive care unit in San Antonio and just the second transplant ICU in the nation to receive this prestigious award. Developed in 2003 by the AACN, the Beacon Award recognizes individual critical care units that exhibit high-quality standards and exceptional care for patients and families while fostering and sustaining healthy work environments.

There are about 6,000 intensive care units in the United States, and less than four percent of them have been recognized for achieving, maintaining and documenting these extremely high standards.

To receive the award, a unit must meet 42 different criteria in six categories, including: Patient outcome, Evidence-based practice and research, Leadership and organizational ethics, Excellence/innovation in recruitment and retention, Education, training, and mentoring and Promoting healing environments.

The Beacon also provides nursing care units a way to better measure systems, outcomes and environments.

Bexar County Community Executive SummaryTHE 2013 BEXAR COUNTY COMMUNITY HEALTH ASSESSMENT
A comprehensive report of local health that guides the development of the Community Health Improvement Plan
The Bexar County Community Health Assessment is a signature project of The Health Collaborative (THC), a convening organization bringing together the area’s healthcare systems, community organizations, and businesses to implement a more synergistic approach to solving the region’s critical community health needs. University Health System is a member of The Health Collaborative. The 2013 assessment is the fifth in a series issued by THC since 1998.


University Health System is one of just 164 hospitals nationwide to earn the Platinum Performance Achievement Award for 2012 from the American College of Cardiology Foundation’s NCDR ACTION Registry. The award recognizes University Hospital’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients, and in reaching an aggressive goal of treating patients with the standardized levels of care as outlined by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) clinical guidelines and recommendations. To earn this achievement, University Health System consistently followed the treatment guidelines in the ACTION Registry–GWTG (Get with the Guidelines) Premier for 8 consecutive quarters and met a performance standard of 90% for specific performance measures. Following these treatment guidelines improves the overall quality of care provided to ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and non- ST- elevation myocardial infarction patients (NSTEMI).

University Health System has received the Get With The Guidelines®–StrokeGold Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association. The award recognizes University Health System’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted guidelines. This marks the third year that University Health System has been recognized with a quality achievement award. Get With The Guidelines–Stroke helps University Health System’s staff develop and implement acute and secondary prevention guideline processes to improve patient care and outcomes. The program provides hospitals with a web-based patient management tool, best practice discharge protocols and standing orders, along with a robust registry and real-time benchmarking capabilities to track performance.

University Health System’s Center for Learning Excellence has received a prestigious Learning In Practice Award from Chief Learning Officer magazine. The center was awarded the Silver Collaboration Award for accomplishments in collaboratively delivering targeted employee development programs. "The Learning In Practice awards were established to recognize transformational and visionary leaders in enterprise education," said Norm Kamikow, president and editor in chief of MediaTec Publishing Inc., which publishes Chief Learning Officer magazine. "More than 200 top learning executives and solution providers were nominated by their peers in 15 categories. The winners are the industry leaders who truly champion innovation and transform it into learning and value for their organizations."

University Health System was presented with a 2012 LearningElite award from Chief Learning Officer magazine. University Health System was ranked number 43 in the award competition. More than 200 companies applied. Developed under the guidance of chief learning officers and senior workforce development practitioners, the CLO LearningElite is the only peer-based benchmarking initiative in the industry. This pioneering program utilizes best practices in evaluation to objectively assess both the scope and the value of the learning and development services that companies provide. It recognizes excellence in five key L&D performance indicators: learning strategy, learning execution, learning impact (internal), business performance results (external) and leadership commitment.

TOP 25 CONNECTED2010 Top 25 Connected Healthcare Facilities
University Health System is once again among the Top 25 Most Connected Healthcare Facilities in the nation, according to HealthImaging & IT Magazine’s annual study of how U.S. hospitals and health systems integrate new technologies to improve quality and efficiency throughout their organizations. University Health System is the only healthcare organization in Texas to be included in this prestigious ranking and is, in fact, in the TOP ONE PERCENT in the country for integrating electronic medical records and advanced technologies.

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American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer2012 ACSC Cancer
University Health System’s cancer programs are accredited by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer. CoC accreditation assures patients that their hospital provides access to a range of services needed to diagnose, treat, rehabilitate and support patients with cancer and their families. CoC-accredited hospitals constantly monitor and evaluate the job they do and take corrective action when needed. CoC describes accreditation as “the hallmark of a program’s commitment to patient-centered cancer care.”

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MedAssets President's Award
MedAssets Presidents AwardUniversity Health System has received the 2012 MedAssets President's Award. Within one year, the nationally recognized academic medical center saved more than $13 million and realized $14 million in cash flow improvement—through a comprehensive advisory services engagement designed to position the organization for successful, sustainable transition to value-based reimbursement. The award was presented at the 2013 MedAssets Healthcare Business Summit, held April 2-4.

University Health System was among hundreds of healthcare industry stakeholders from across the country recognized at the Summit for innovation and pioneering efforts to reduce costs, enhance operational efficiencies and improve care delivery.

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2012 centeringpregnancyUniversity Health System is the only non-military health system in San Antonio approved by the national Centering Healthcare Institute to provide CenteringPregnancy. CenteringPregnancy brings together groups of eight to 10 women with similar due dates. The moms-to-be meet as a group each month over the course of their pregnancies, and after delivery. With a certified midwife leading the group, they share stories and learn about what they’re going through — and what to expect next.

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South Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Center recognized as a Level 4 center
The South Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, a partnership between University Health System and UT Medicine San Antonio, is the only Level 4 epilepsy center in San Antonio. A designation by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. Level 4 is the highest designation for an epilepsy center, and is awarded to centers providing the most complex diagnostic and treatment options, including a broad range of surgical procedures. The center offers the most advanced medical, dietary and surgical therapies to patients whose seizures are not controlled by medications. Both inpatient and outpatient diagnostic evaluations are available. And as an academic and research program, it offers patients the opportunity to take part in trials of promising new medications and surgical interventions.

Bronze Award - Donation and Transplantation Community of Practice


The University Transplant Center Lung Program received a Bronze Award from the Donation and Transplantation Community of Practice. This award recognizes high performing transplant programs and takes into account post-transplant survival rates, transplant rates and mortality rates of patients on the waitlist. Our center is one of just 13 lung transplant programs in the U.S. to receive this honor.


University Health System is the only healthcare organization in San Antonio to be included on U.S. News and World Report’s Most Connected Hospital list for 2011.

University Health System and the other 118 health organizations in the U.S. are recognized by U.S. News as the “best of the best” when it comes to advanced medical care and use of integrated and comprehensive electronic health records. These organizations are committed to providing the highest level of care, utilizing the latest technology to reduce the risk of drug interactions, medical errors, while improving communication and efficiency among the clinical staff. 

To make the list, hospitals had to meet two challenging standards that demonstrated they were leading the transition of medicine into the era of EMR (Electronic Medical Records). Only hospitals that already had the distinction of a national ranking in the 2011-12 U.S. News Best Hospitals or  Best Children's Hospitals rankings, or received a designation of high-performing in one or more medical specialties were even considered for the Most Connected Hospitals list. They must also be a Stage 6 or Stage 7 on the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model. HIMSS Analytics (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Analytics) scores hospitals' adoption of electronic medical records on a scale from Stage 0 (no use of EMR) to Stage 7 (full use). University Health System is currently at Stage 6 and waiting Stage 7 verification. Only 3.5% of all U.S. hospitals have achieved HIMSS Stage 6.

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U.S. News & World Reporthas included 47 University Health System/UT Medicine San Antonio physicians in its 2011 directory of the nation’s Top Doctors, and 42 of those doctors received special recognition for outstanding work in their areas of specialty. The list, available online, is a compilation of the leading peer-nominated physicians across the country, and a total of 188 San Antonio physicians have earned this prestigious designation. The University Health System/UT Medicine San Antonio Top Doctors represent a physician’s wide range of specialties.

The goal of U.S. News’ Top Doctors list is to help guide consumers to top specialists and primary care doctors in their area. It was created in collaboration with Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., publisher of America’s Top Doctors and other consumer health guides. It draws from Castle Connolly’s database of Top Doctors, all recommended for their clinical skills by other physicians and individually evaluated by a physician-led research team.



University Health System is once again recognized as one of the VERY BEST learning organizations in the world. University Health System ranked 12 in the American Society for Training & Development's (ASTD) 2011 BEST Awards program, and is among just 32 organizations from India, British Columbia, Turkey, Hong Kong and the United States to be included this year. The BEST Awards recognizes organizations that demonstrate enterprise-wide success as a result of employee learning and development. The award-winning companies are deeply committed to a successful learning environment and strongly invested in learning and performance initiatives for their employees. BEST organizations have also showed that they are BEST at Building talent, Enterprise-wide, Supported by the organization's leaders, fostering a Thorough learning culture.

University Health System, recognized for three consecutive years, was honored for its leadership development programs including the Performance Leadership Academy, Management Development Academy, Directors’ Mentoring Program, and Leadership Academy for Physicians. All of the BEST winners’ training initiatives focused on increasing productivity, developing new skills, engaging with clients and customers, and taking individual responsibility for learning. This type of strong commitment to learning has helped many of the winning organizations build a culture of integrated talent management, resulting in higher workforce retention rates and support for learning at the highest levels.

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University Health System has received the American College of Cardiology Foundation’s NCDR ACTION Registry–GWTG Gold Performance Achievement Award for 2011. The award recognizes University Health System’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients and signifies that University Health System has reached an aggressive goal of treating coronary artery disease patients with 85 percent compliance to core standard levels of care outlined by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association clinical guidelines and recommendations.

University Health System consistently followed the treatment guidelines for 24 consecutive months. These include aggressive use of medications like cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, and anticoagulants in the hospital. "The full implementation of acute and secondary prevention guideline-recommended therapy is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of heart attack patients,” Gregg C. Fonarow, MD, ACTION Registry - GWTG Steering Committee Chairperson and Director of Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center.

The number of acute myocardial infarction patients eligible for treatment is expected to grow over the next decade due to increasing incidence of heart disease and a large aging population.

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UNIVERSITY HEALTH SYSTEM RECEIVES GET WITH THE GUIDELINES STROKE SILVER AWARDUniversity Health System has received the 2012 American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke Silver Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes University Health System’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of stroke care by ensuring that stroke patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations. University Health System has developed a comprehensive system for rapid diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients admitted to the emergency department. This includes always being equipped to provide brain imaging scans, having neurologists available to conduct patient evaluations and using clot-busting medications when appropriate.

University Health System consistently followed the treatment guidelines for at least one year and achieved a compliance level of 85 percent or higher needed to sustain the award. “We commend University Health System for its success in implementing standards of care and protocols,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the national Get With the Guidelines Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and serious, long-term disability in the United States, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. On average, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds; someone dies of a stroke every four minutes; and 795,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke each year.

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Training Top 125

University Health System is among the top organizations in the world for employee learning, according to a recent study by Training Magazine. The health system, owned by the people of Bexar County, was among 125 organizations from Canada, India and the United States to receive a 2011 Top 125 Award for innovative and successful learning programs and practices. University Health System was particularly recognized for its Customer Service Institute, which was launched in 2010. Service Champions from 60 departments throughout the health system participated in the institute over a six-month period. Their training was focused on the organization’s corporate customer service behaviors and they were charged with sharing what they learned through their department staff meetings.  

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George B. Hernández, Jr., President/CEO of University Health System, was named one of Modern Healthcare magazine’s Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare for 2010.

The publication’s 2010 list of its Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare was announced in its April 19, 2010 issue and the complete list of honorees is online at


An editorial review board at Modern Healthcare reviewed the nominations and judged the candidates on the following criteria:

• Successfully served as a leader or managed an organization
• Showed the ability to effect change in the healthcare industry
• Demonstrated a willingness to share expertise with others in the field
• Served as a role model to other minority healthcare executives
• Assumed a leadership position in the industry outside the candidate’s own organization

Hernández joined University Health System in 1990. He assumed the role of President/CEO in January 2005 after serving as executive vice president/assistant administrator for five years and vice president for Legal Services for 10 years.  



University Health System received an Organ Donation Silver Medal of Honor from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at the 5th Annual National Learning Congress on Organ Donation and Transplantation on September 30, 2009. This is the second consecutive year for University Health System to be recognized for our efforts to increase organ donation in the hospital.



HIMSS Analytics’ EMR Adoption Model “Stage 6” Award Winner graphicIn 2008, University Health System received one of the most prestigious recognitions for information technology – HIMSS Analytics' EMR Adoption Model "Stage 6" designation. Less than one percent of all healthcare organizations in the nation have achieved this stage of integration. Level 7 is the highest, and currently no healthcare organizations have met this standard. HIMSS has recognized UHS as "a great example to our industry on transforming information technology environments to achieve a level of patient care this is only a vision in most hospitals today."

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2008 Texas EMS Air Medical Service of the year awardSan Antonio AirLIFE is the 2008 Texas' EMS Air Medical Service of the year. The award, presented by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) EMS division, honors the EMS air medical service that demonstrates the highest standards in providing patient care to the citizens of Texas. This was the third time for AirLIFE to be named the top air medical service in the state. The first recognition came in 1998, the first year this award was given by DSHS.

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For the seventh consecutive year, University Health System's Department of Respiratory Care received the American Association of Respiratory Care Quality Respiratory Care Recognition Award. Just 15 percent of all hospitals in the nation received this prestigious award.



University Health System is located in San Antonio, TX and owned by the people of Bexar County.
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