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Hospital gets golden nod on accreditation

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By Kate Darnell

After a week-long on-site survey by its accreditation program, Harrison Memorial Hospital has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval.

HMH Chief Executive Officer Sheila Currans said the commission’s survey results helped validate the success and high standards of the regional hospital.

“We try to live by these standards,” Currans said about the regulations placed on the hospital by The Joint Commission, which has accredited HMH since 1973.

“Above all, the national standards are intended to stimulate continuous, systematic and organization-wide improvement in an organization’s performance and the outcome of care,” said Darlene Christiansen, executive director of The Joint Commission’s hospital accreditation program. “The community should be proud that Harrison Memorial Hospital is focusing on the most challenging goal - to continuously raise quality and safety to higher levels.”

Unannounced to hospital administration, individuals from The Joint Commission inspected different areas of the hospital, including the physical building and care received by patients.

“It’s a full physical plant survey by someone that has been trained in that area,” said Currans. “They look to see that you meet the building codes and safety compliances.”

Currans said inspectors also followed HMH patients throughout their stay at the facility, which allowed inspectors to work closely with HMH staff.

“What I like about The Joint Commission is that when they come, they don’t spend any time with me or the management, they spend time with the front line,” Currans said.

Currans said the results of the survey weren’t reflective of the care issued only during that week in December that inspectors were at HMH, but instead, the results reflect the care that is always administered at HMH.

“If we practice these standards everyday, then they (The Joint Commission) see what we are and that’s the way it should be,” said Currans.

In an exit presentation, inspectors told HMH board members and department managers that they were impressed with the hospital’s staff, Currans said.

“The staff made themselves available to talk about the care that is provided here,” said Currans. “When they (inspectors) walked through, they saw people smiling and enjoying their work and I think patients notice that... We believe everyone was outstanding. We were very pleased with our staff.”

Currans said inspectors did offer four areas of improvement.

“On average, hospitals through this survey process usually get at least eight areas for improvement,” she said.

Of those areas of improvement, Currans said none were related to the physical building or patient care, but instead were related to the hospital’s paperwork procedures.

Currans said steps have already been taken to improve those issues.

With these positive results, Currans said HMH will remain accredited and can therefore seek compensation from Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies.