Awards & Distinctions


American Nurses Credentialing Center Magnet designation award badgeUniversity Health is the first health system in San Antonio and South Texas to earn Magnet status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). After its initial designation in 2010, University Health’s prestigious Magnet designation was renewed for another four years in November of 2020.

In announcing the renewal, the ANCC praised a number of initiatives, including University Health’s Nurse Residency Program, the Nurse Family Partnership program and nursing participation on the health system’s ethics committee.

Magnet designation is one of University Health proudest achievements. Only 6 percent of the nation’s hospitals — and only 51 in Texas — enjoy Magnet status. Magnet is widely accepted as the gold standard in measuring the quality of care provided to patients.

Magnet hospitals and health systems attract the best nurses and health professionals, and 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 has successfully demonstrated its commitment to providing excellent care for all patients, sustaining nursing excellence and transforming the culture of a work environment.


Verified Trauma Center logoThe American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma again has verified University Hospital as a Level I trauma center, indicating our trauma team’s capability to provide expert, around-the-clock treatment of the most serious injuries, and to maintain its strong mission of education, research and prevention. University Hospital’s status as a Level I trauma center has been continuous since 1997, and in December 2017, the American College of Surgeons extended that verification for two more years. As one of two Level I adult trauma centers with its military partner Brooke Army Medical Center, and as the only Level I pediatric trauma center in the region, University Hospital cares for thousands of injured patients each year from throughout a 22-county region of South Texas.


University Health is routinely included in U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Hospitals Study. 2020 designations include high-performing in the care of colon cancer surgery, heart failure and heart bypass surgery.


2020 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus and Target: Stroke Elite Plus Award badgeUniversity Hospital has again received the American Heart Association / American Stroke Association Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus and Target: Stroke Elite Plus Award. The award recognizes a hospital’s commitment to the highest quality of stroke care, including the ability to collaborate as a team and reach specific milestones in evidence-based patient care as measured in the GWTG-Stroke program. That means University Hospital demonstrated a high level of adherence to a number of treatment and quality measures, and rapid delivery of thrombolyic medicines to dissolve clots and improve blood flow over a sustained period of time. 


ECMO Award for excellenceUniversity Health’ Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) program has received the 2020 Gold Level Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) Award for Excellence in Life Support.

The ELSO award recognizes programs worldwide that distinguish themselves by having processes, procedures and systems in place the promote excellence and exceptional care. University Health’s ECMO program achieved the highest level of performance in three categories: Promoting the mission, activities and vision of ELSO

Using the highest evidence-based quality measures, processes and structures

Training, educating, collaborating and communicating ELSO guidelines that contribute to a healing environment for families, patients and staff.


Chest Pain MI RegistryUniversity Health has received the American College of Cardiology’s Chest Pain - MI Registry Platinum Performance Achievement Award for 2020. We were one of only 225 hospitals nationwide to receive the honor. The award recognizes our commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart attack patients. It signifies that we have reached the goal of treating these patients to standard levels of care as outlined by the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association clinical guidelines and recommendations.


University Health 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 11th time University Health 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.


2019 AMSN PRISM Award

University Hospital’s 12 MSU and 10th Floor Sky Tower nursing units have become the first in the city to receive the prestigious PRISM Award, co-sponsored by the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, AMSN, and the Medical-Surgical Nursing Certification Board, MSNCB.

The award, which stands for “Premier Recognition in the Specialty of Med-Surg,” recognizes exceptional nursing practice, leadership and patient outcomes in hospital medical-surgical units.


University Health’s Adolescent Health program was honored with a Gage Award for population health by America’s Essential Hospitals. We are one of only two recipients nationally. Our program offers adolescent vaccines, home visits for first-time teen mothers, STD testing and family planning services.

The award was given for our efforts to provide medically accurate sexual health information to adolescents and their families, and for encouraging strategies that promote healthy life choices. The Gage Award recognizes activities that improve the delivery, access or value of healthcare for specific populations in a community and, as a result, have improved health outcomes.


AACVPRUniversity Health's cardiovascular rehabilitation program received a three-year certification from the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. This certification recognizes our ongoing commitment to improving the quality of life by enhancing standards of care.


2020 BEST Learning Workplace AwardFor the tenth year, University Health has been recognized as having one of the best employee learning and development programs in the world with a 2020 ATD BEST Award from the Association for Talent Development.

The ATD is the world’s largest association dedicated to those who develop talent in organizations. These professionals help others achieve their full potential by improving their knowledge, skills and abilities.


ACC Chest Pain Center AccreditationThe American College of Cardiology has recognized University Hospital for its expertise and commitment in treating patients with chest pain. University Hospital was awarded Chest Pain Center Accreditation with Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) based on a rigorous onsite review of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.

Hospitals that have earned ACC Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI Accreditation have demonstrated exceptional competency in treating patients with heart attack symptoms and have primary PCI available around the clock, every day of the year. As required to meet the criteria of the accreditation designation, they streamline their systems from admission to evaluation to diagnosis and treatment. all the way through to appropriate post-discharge care and assistance in helping the patient achieve a healthier lifestyle. In addition, they have formal agreements with other facilities that regularly refer heart attack patients to them for primary PCI.


comm cancerUniversity Health’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.”


As a nationally recognized academic health system dedicated to advancing knowledge and improving care, University Health has been recognized as a Center of Excellence by a number of major health plans and organizations, including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Bridges to Excellence, Children’s Hospital Association, Cigna Life Source, Optum, Superior Health Plan Insurance and LifeTrac. These designations require expertise, value and a track record of excellence in treating complex medical conditions, and typically follow a comprehensive evaluation process.


2017 Mission Lifeline Award badgeUniversity Health has been recognized by the American Heart Association as a 2017 Mission: Lifeline STEMI Receiving Center — Silver Achievement Award hospital. The award is given for applying the most up-to-date, evidence-based treatment guidelines to improve patient care and outcomes. The American Heart Association developed Mission: Lifeline to transform heart attack patient outcomes by connecting healthcare providers, prehospital providers and community stakeholders in a proactive system of care that saves and improves lives—from symptom onset through cardiac rehabilitation.


ISO 55001 2014 AwardUniversity Health is the first healthcare system globally to be certified to the ISO 55001 standard. ISO, or the International Organization for Standardization, develops international standards to ensure quality, safety and efficiency. By obtaining this standard through ABS Quality Evaluations, University Health demonstrates its commitment to manage its assets effectively and sustainably.


Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association badgeUniversity Hospital has been certified as a comprehensive stroke center by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, becoming one of only three hospitals statewide and about 100 across the country to be so recognized by The Joint Commission. Comprehensive stroke centers are an elite group of providers capable of treating the most complex stroke patients. As a group, they are responsible for setting the national agenda in highly specialized stroke care. Comprehensive stroke centers must offer more specialized diagnostic and treatment options, along with a dedicated neuroscience intensive care unit and specially-trained staff.


Learning Elite award for best companies in learning and development badgeUniversity Health has earned a 2016 LearningElite gold award from Chief Learning Officer magazine for the quality of its employee learning and development programs. University Health was No. 12  among corporate giants that included Nationwide Insurance, Western Union and Sears. University Health also received an Editor’s Choice Award as Best Mid-Sized Company.


2016 Air Quality Stewardship Award badgeThe Air Improvement Resources Committee of the Alamo Area Council of Governments awarded University Health’s Sky Tower at University Hospital the 2016 Air Quality Stewardship Award for reducing electricity use, resulting in a reduction of nitrogen oxides emission.

The Sky Tower was designed with both occupant health and resource conservation as the driving strategies. It uses 22 percent less energy than a standard building and less water than the previous hospital that was half the size of the new hospital. The Sky Tower achieved LEED New Construction v2.2 Gold, and is the second LEED BD+C Certified Gold hospital in Texas and the 40th nationwide.


2015 American Association of Critical Care Nurses Beacon Award for Excellence LogoUniversity Hospital’s Medical Intensive Care Unit received a silver-level Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. The award demonstrates continuous learning and the development of effective systems to achieve optimal patient care in five categories: Leadership structures and systems; appropriate staffing and staff engagement; effective communication, knowledge management, learning and development; evidence-based practice and processes; and outcome measurement. “The Beacon Award for Excellence recognizes caregivers in stellar units whose consistent and systematic approach to evidence-based care optimizes patient outcomes. Units that receive this national recognition serve as role models to others on their journey to excellent patient and family care,” said AACN President Teri Lynn Kiss, RN, MS, MSSW, CNML, CMSRN.


LEED Gold award for environmentally friendly design badgeUniversity Health has twice been awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold Certification for environmentally friendly design and construction, first for the clinical pavilion at the historic Robert B. Green Campus, and again for the Sky Tower at University Hospital. 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 10-story Sky Tower, which opened in April 2014, was designed by the architectural team of Perkins+Will, RVK, and Garza Bomberger & Associates. The six-story clinical building, which opened in January 2013, was designed by the architectural team of RTKL and Overland Partners.


The University Health Capital Improvement Program was awarded first place in the large healthcare project category in the 2014 Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Texas Outstanding Construction awards program. The joint venture of Zachry Vaughn Layton received this prestigious award for the Sky Tower at University Hospital project at the AGC annual conference in July, 2015.


The Hispanic Contractors Association awarded University Health the Esperanza Award at its 5th Annual Excellence through Diversity Gala. The Esperanza Award is given to an organization that supports diversity programs in all aspects of its operations, and whose leadership and staff continue to find ways to improve, support and recognize diversity in their projects. University Health Capital Improvement Program contractor ZVL was also recognized at this event for its commitment to diversity on the Sky Tower project.


Gold recognition award through the Healthy Workplace Recognition program of San Antonio Business Group and the Mayor's Fitness Council badgeUniversity Health 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.


07 Goldseal advanced certification in palliative care from the Join Commission badgeUniversity Health 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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Centering Healthcare Institute badgeUniversity Health 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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The South Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, a partnership between University Health and UT Health 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.

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