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Washington Regional Earns Advanced Spine Surgery Certification from The Joint Commission

Washington Regional Medical Center is the first hospital in Northwest Arkansas to earn The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Advanced Certification in Spine Surgery (ACSS) by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal is a symbol of quality that reflects a health care organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care. Washington Regional first achieved The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Spine Surgery in 2021.

“Earning Advanced Certification in Spine Surgery highlights the dedication of Washington Regional’s Spine Program to fulfilling our mission of providing high quality, compassionate care to our community,“ said Larry Armstrong DO, FACOS, FACS, chief of neurosurgery and medical director of the Washington Regional Spine Program. “The goal of the Washington Regional Spine Program, part of the Washington Regional J.B. Hunt Transport Services Neuroscience Institute, is to help patients live a life free of pain and get back to doing the activities they enjoy. Washington Regional chose to pursue this advanced certification with our patients and our ability to provide the level of care needed by our community in mind.”

The advanced certification, offered in collaboration with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, helps organizations provide consistent communication and collaboration among all health care providers involved in the care of the patient – from the pre-surgical consultation with the spine surgeon to the intraoperative process, hospitalization, rehabilitation and follow-up visit with the surgeon.

To be eligible for ACSS, organizations must implement evidence-based care and clinical practice guidelines and participate in the American Spine Registry, a national quality improvement registry for spine care. Additionally, organizations need to collect performance measurement data on surgical site infection rates, new neurological deficits, unplanned return visits to the operating room, and pre-operative and post-operative patient reported outcomes.

Washington Regional Medical Center underwent a rigorous onsite review on February 13 and 14. During the visit, a Joint Commission reviewer evaluated compliance with related certification standards, including clinical information management, program management, supporting self-management and delivering or facilitating clinical care. Joint Commission standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. The reviewer also conducted onsite observations and interviews.

“Advanced Certification in Spine Surgery recognizes health care organizations committed to striving for excellence and fostering continuous improvement in patient safety and quality of care,” said Ken Grubbs, DNP, MBA, RN, executive vice president of Accreditation and Certification Operations and chief nursing officer, The Joint Commission. “We commend Washington Regional Medical Center for using The Joint Commission certification process to reduce variation in clinical processes and to strengthen its clinical program to drive safer, higher quality and more compassionate care for individuals served.” For more information about ACSS, please visit The Joint Commission website.