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SJMH honored by Joint Commission

September 29, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital in Weston has been recognized as one of only five hospitals in the state of West Virginia "attaining and sustaining excellence in accountability" according to the Joint Commission, an organization that accredits more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States.

The five West Virginia hospitals were among the 620 recognized hospitals that were in the top 18 percent of those reporting core measure performance data. Joint Commission uses core measures as guidelines to promote excellent patient care.

"This is affirmation of our efforts at Stonewall Jackson Hospital, to provide our patients with excellent care," Avah Stalnaker, CEO, of SJMH. "Our medical staff, anesthesia providers, and hospital personnel worked hard to meet all of those quality standards."

Article Photos

Submitted photo
Members of the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital staff are shown with the certificate given to SJMH for the recent designation from The Joint Commission. Pictured above from left are Kay Butcher, SJMH Health Information Management Director, Avah Stalnaker, SJMH CEO, andTiffany Lowther, SJMH Utilization Management Coordinator ; back row, from left, Jack Marcum, SJMH Director of Anesthesiology, Tina Burnside, Assistant Director of Health Information Management, Dr. John Wyllie, president of the SJMH Medical Staff, and Kevin Stalnaker, SJMH Chief Operating Officer.

Carole Norton, Corporate Compliance Officer and Joint Commission liaison for SJMH, was pleased with the recognition.

"This is quite an honor for us," said Norton. "It truly reflects the hard work our staff performs to provide excellent patient care. Core measures are a guide for good clinical care which in turn provides our patients with great healthcare and great outcomes."

Kathy Parks-McIe, currently serves as SJMH's Core Measures Coordinator. Though she began the current position in 2012, she was also pleased with the honor and said, "Marilyn McCauley was the coordinator during 2011 when SJMH's data was used. Marilyn did an excellent job for our patients. Fortunately, our medical staff has taken up the challenge for continuing improvement and we will see continued positive outcomes in the future."

There are four areas in which core measures are scored. These include steps taken to prevent or treat: acute myocardial infarction (heart attacks), heart failure and pneumonia, as well as following particular clinical guidelines for surgical care.

SJMH and Jackson General Hospital in Ripley were recognized for stellar performance in the areas of pneumonia and surgical care. The Huntington VA Medical Center was recognized for care in heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care. Cabell Huntington Hospital and Fairmont General Hospital were recognized in the areas of heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care.

Attaining excellence with pneumonia treatment means that SJMH met and exceeded several criteria set by Joint Commission in that area. The criteria can include clinical staples such as: giving an antibiotic within six hours after arrival; having the patient's blood cultured before the antibiotic is given; making sure that the patient is given the best type of antibiotic for his/her situation.

In the case of SJMH receiving recognition for surgical care, the standards differ from the pneumonia guidelines. The surgical criteria include: giving the patient an antibiotic within one hour of surgery; stopping antibiotics at the correct time; giving patients the right kind of antibiotics; giving some patients the correct treatment to prevent blood clots; giving patients with a history of heart problems beta blockers appropriately; removing catheters in an appropriate time frame; keeping patients warm during surgery; and giving patients appropriate blood clot preventions.

Joint Commission has provided the guidelines for hospitals to make these important clinical changes for decades. The work has paid off. Overall, the report shows 88.8 percent of hospitals achieved a composite accountability measure performance of 90 percent in 2011, compared to 20.4 percent of hospitals in 2002. That is quite an improvement.

"The Joint Commission began releasing this information as a way to shine a light on and encourage excellence on accountability measures. The significant increase in the number of hospitals achieving Top Performers status demonstrates that these organizations are intently focused on delivering high quality care within their communities," Dr. Mark R. Chassin, president, The Joint Commission. said.

"Making the Top Performers list is no easy feat. I salute these organizations for their hard work in attaining excellence. By consistently using evidence-based treatments, their patients are getting better hospital care," Chassin said.

The Joint Commission, formerly the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and previous to that the Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals, provides accreditation for SJMH. A majority of state governments have come to recognize Joint Commission accreditation as a condition of licensure and the receipt of Medicaid reimbursement.

The declared mission of the organization is 'to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value."

The Joint Commission was renamed Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals in 1951, but it was not until 1965 that accreditation had any official impact. In 1965 the federal government decided that a hospital that met Joint Commission accreditation met the Medicare Conditions of Participation.



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