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This year, COVID was an enormous, unforeseen challenge that has resulted in every person working in long term care to step up and go above and beyond expectations. With that in mind, after much consideration, we made the difficult decision to hold off on the awards program this year. At a time when our entire profession is doing so much, many of our awards would recognize just one person. For this year’s Convention, we intend to find different ways to more widely celebrate our amazing staff and caregivers who do incredible things within our industry on a daily basis.

We encourage you to submit your heartfelt stories of residents who have recovered from COVID and the long term care heroes who are battling this virus to our 
Faces of Care site. Thank for your understanding, and we look forward to resuming the AHCA/NCAL Awards in 2021!

AHCA/NCAL presents the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award to an individual that has made a significant national contribution to advancing quality performance in long term care. Recipients must consistently advocate for quality approaches and demonstrate the ability to educate and advocate for a system’s approach to quality improvement. Recipients also display leadership in the development, promotion, and implementation of quality improvement initiatives that have resulted in measurable improvements in the quality of care and quality of life for individuals in long term care.

In 2011, the Friend of Quality Award was renamed the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award to honor the ongoing legacy and commitment to quality care demonstrated by its namesake, Mary Ousley, a licensed nursing center administrator and nurse who has dedicated her life to improve the quality in long term care.

This year's recipient will be presented with the award at the 71st AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo, October 3 - 7 in Austin, Texas!

Past recipients of the award include: 
Janet Snipes​, Holly Heights Nursing Center

Linda Kluge, Alliant Quality​
Maryruth ButlerKindred Nursing and Rehabilitation-Mountain Valley
Vincent Mor, Brown University School of Public Health
Alice Bonner, Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Commonwealth of Massachusetts 
Jack Vetter, Vetter Health Services
Bernie Dana, Evangel University 
Mary Jane Koren, The Commonwealth Fund
Bonnie Kantor, Pioneer Network
Dale Thompson, Benedictine Health System
Mary K. Ousley, Ousley and Associates
Barbara Baylis, Providigm 
Edward McMahon, Sunrise Senior Living

Nomination Requirements:
  • ​Nominations will be accepted from AHCA/NCAL members; AHCA/NCAL staff; AHCA/NCAL state affiliates; other individuals who work in the long term care field, including direct care, education, research, and resident advocacy.
  • Nominees must have made a national impact to advance quality care in the long-term care field: nursing centers, assisted living, or post-acute care.
  • Only one nomination is accepted for a candidate.  If multiple nominations are submitted for one person, the nominators will be asked to combine nominations, or the first nomination will be accepted.
  • Nominations may not be more than two pages. Nominations exceeding two pages will not be reviewed. 
    • ​NOTE: The nomination must clearly establish the national impact the nominee has had on advancing quality care.

Nominee Attributes:


The following are examples of the types of contributions that are exemplified by strong candidates. Nationally recognized as any of the following:

  • A catalyst for adoption of innovative approaches that have resulted in measurable improvements in quality.
  • A leader in long term care research and/or interventions that have resulted in significant quality improvement.
  • A champion and leader of performance improvement at the national level in long term care: nursing centers, assisted living, and/or post-acute care.
  • An educator and advocate for systematic approaches to quality improvement.
  • An advocate for policy reform that improves the care of elderly in long term care.​

Nomination Submission and Form


Selection Process:

  • Friday, July 10, 2020: Nominations due online by 11:59 p.m. ET.
  • Mid July: The Champion of Quality workgroup meets via conference call to review the nominations and select the top two or three candidates.
  • Candidates are selected based on the attributes outlined above. 
  • Any candidates that do not demonstrate a significant national contribution to advancing quality performance in long-term care will not be selected
  • Early August: The top two or three candidates are distributed to the full Quality Improvement Committee, Mary K. Ousley and Chair of the AHCA Board of Governors for a vote. The candidate receiving a majority of the votes will be selected as the Champion of Quality recipient. 
  • Mid August: The award recipient will be notified by AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson.
  • All candidates and nominators who were not selected will be notified by AHCA staff. ​
 Please contact Erin Prendergast at