"When you bring two companies together you hope to take what is extremely good and make it great," Brennan says. "That is the hope here, not that there is any one model that has figured it all out. Winning a Baldrige Award sets them apart nationally. And all of the things that we've been able to innovate and demonstrate nationally with our proven care models totally differentiate us from any other type of suitor that may have been considered by AtlantiCare in their year-long process."
Tilton says AtlantiCare's success has been in great part due to its willingness to learn from others.
"One of the key characteristics of our organization is that we know we don't have everything figured out," he says. "That has been part of what has driven us as a learning organization for the past 25 years. We are always open to new ideas and best practices and learning from others. In my interactions with Geisinger they see the world that way too. I don't think you can perform at a high level in this field unless you were open to others' thinking. That is how you earn a Baldrige Award. You learn best practices, you shape it for your own organization and you try to execute on it. That's been part of our culture for some time."