BRH earns accreditation

Bartlett Regional Hospital has earned accreditation through the Joint Commission.

The non-profit independent organization accredits more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the U.S.

The Joint Commission has given the city-owned hospital its trademarked “Gold Seal of Approval” for compliance with the Commission’s national standards for hospital quality and safety.

According to Joint Commission spokesman Bret Coons, the Bartlett survey was unannounced and took place earlier this month. He said the Joint Commission conducts on-site surveys every 18 to 36 months and last visited Bartlett in 2009.

“Ideally this is enough of an unannounced time frame that the organization is working to constantly keep their accreditation standards in full compliance,” he said.

Once on-site, Joint Commission surveyors rate a range of hospital functions from the care environment to emergency services, medication management, medical staff, and treatment as well as a number of other criteria, Coons said. The surveyors also follow a patient through care, in what’s called Tracer Methodology.

“The tracer allows the surveyor, or surveyors, to actually follow a patient’s experience at the organization. Now whether that’s done through files or actually a patient that is being treated onsite at the time the survey is going on is up to the surveyors and the organization as well,” he said. “Obviously you’d have to get permission from the patient.”

Among other benefits, the Joint Commission says accreditation strengthens community confidence in a health care organization, helps recruit staff, and is a prerequisite for insurance reimbursement for some procedures.

Trauma Center certification
Earlier this week, BRH was certified by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services as a Level IV Trauma Center. That means the Juneau hospital can provide initial evaluation, stabilize critical patients and transfer them to higher level trauma centers.

Data indicates a 25 percent increase in survival rate of seriously injured patients when they are treated at a designated trauma center, according to HSS. The highest designation in Alaska is level two at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. Alaska has the second highest trauma death rate in the U.S.