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Published: Jan 30, 2009

By Tampa General Hospital


Tampa (January 30, 2009) – Tampa General Hospital’s Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) program has earned the Gold Seal of Approval™ for health care quality from the nation’s largest independent organization that monitors the quality and safety of patient care. The Joint Commission has awarded Tampa General Disease-Specific Care Certification for the ventricular assist device (VAD) program. A ventricular assist device, or VAD, is a mechanical device used to partially or completely replace the function of a failing heart. Some VADs are intended for short term use, typically for patients recovering from heart attacks or heart surgery, while others are intended for long term use (months to years and in some cases for life), typically for patients suffering from congestive heart failure. “This certification means Tampa General Hospital does the right things and does them well for heart failure patients,” says Jean E. Range, M.S., R.N., C.P.H.Q., executive director, Disease-Specific Care Certification, Joint Commission.   In January of 2005, TGH was the first and only hospital in the country to receive disease-specific certification in 11 specific areas of health care.   This week’s announcement reconfirms that Tampa General is providing the best possible care. The Gold Seal certifications that TGH has already achieved by the Joint Commission are in the areas of: Bariatric Surgery, Burn/Wound Care, Complex Orthopedic, Epilepsy, Heart Transplant, Liver Transplant, Joint Replacement, Sleep Disorders, Primary Stroke Center, Surgical Digestive Disorders and Gastrointestinal Cancer, and Trauma. To earn this distinction, a disease management program undergoes an extensive, unannounced, on-site evaluation by a team of Joint Commission reviewers every two years. The program is evaluated against Joint Commission standards through an assessment of a program’s processes, the program’s ability to evaluate and improve care within its own organization, and interviews with patients and staff. “Tampa General voluntarily pursued this comprehensive, independent evaluation to enhance the safety and quality of care we provide,” says Deana Nelson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “We’re proud to achieve this distinction.”   The Joint Commission launched its Disease-Specific Care Certification program in 2002. It is the first program of its kind in the country to certify disease management programs. Last October, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) assumed responsibility for transplant certification from the Joint Commission. TGH has maintained that certification for its liver and heart transplant programs. A list of programs certified by the Joint Commission is available at www.jointcommission.org. 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.