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Tuesday, November 25, 2008 - SJH Regional Medical Center Earns Gold Seal of Approval™ for Stroke and Heart Failure Care
Hospital Awarded Joint Commission’s Disease-Specific Care Certifications

VINELAND, NJ (November 17) – The South Jersey Healthcare Regional Medical Center has earned the Gold Seal of Approval™ for health care quality in stroke and heart failure care. The Joint Commission recently awarded the hospital its Disease-Specific Care Certification for Heart Failure care and Primary Stroke Center Certification.

“These certifications mean the SJH Regional Medical Center does the right things and does them well for stroke and heart failure patients,” says Jean E. Range, M.S., R.N., C.P.H.Q., executive director, Disease-Specific Care Certification, Joint Commission.

The SJH Regional Medical Center, located in Vineland, New Jersey, is one of only three hospitals in the state that has earned the Joint Commission’s heart failure certification. The disease specific care certification program is entirely voluntary and has expanded to include more than a dozen medical conditions, since being introduced in 2002.

“The Regional Medical Center pursued this comprehensive, independent evaluation to enhance the safety and quality of care we provide,” said Elizabeth Sheridan, RN, MA, FACHE, SJH Regional Medical Center Chief Operating Officer and SJH Chief Nurse Executive. “We’re proud to receive the Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Center Certification and Disease-Specific Care Certification for heart failure because it recognizes our commitment to providing outstanding care to our patients and our community.”

To earn the Disease-Specific Care Certification for Heart Failure, the Regional Medical Center’s Heart Failure team underwent an extensive on-site evaluation by a team of Joint Commission reviewers. Every two years, hospitals earning the distinction are evaluated against Joint Commission standards through an assessment of a program’s processes, the hospital’s ability to evaluate and improve care within the organization, and interviews with patients and staff.

SJH’s Heart Failure team follows guidelines set forth by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology. The health system has also been actively working to improve care for African Americans and Latinos with heart failure and reduce racial and ethnic health disparities in the community by participating in a statewide Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) initiative. SJH is one of 10 hospitals in the state chosen by RWJF to participate in New Jersey Health Initiatives: Expecting Success - Excellence in Cardiac Care, a grant-funded learning network in which hospitals share and apply best practices for treating patients with heart failure.

The Regional Medical Center participated in a second on-site evaluation to receive the Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Center Certification. This distinction is based on the recommendations for primary stroke centers published by the Brain Attack Coalition and the American Stroke Association’s statements/guidelines for stroke care. The Joint Commission launched the program—the nation’s first—in 2003. A list of programs certified by the Joint Commission is available at www.jointcommission.org.

Both the Regional Medical Center and SJH Elmer Hospital have also received state recognition for stroke care. Earlier this year, the hospitals were certified as a Primary Stroke Centers by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. This state designation is based upon the advanced capabilities and protocols for the rapid and effective diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients at SJH’s hospitals.

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits nearly 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 8,000 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,800 other health care organizations that provide long term care, assisted living, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services.

The Joint Commission also accredits health plans, integrated delivery networks, and other managed care entities. In addition, the Joint Commission provides certification of disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers, and health care staffing services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, the Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about the Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.

South Jersey Healthcare (SJH) is a nonprofit, integrated health care system, providing access to a continuum of health services. SJH provides hospital services, numerous community health clinics, home health services, and specialty services, which serve the medical and health care needs of Southern New Jersey residents.