GMH secures full accreditation - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GMH secures full accreditation

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - The island's only civilian hospital checks out and receives the gold seal of approval from the Joint Commission of Healthcare Organizations.

That means the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority is accredited on the same level, meeting the same standards as every top hospital in the U.S. mainland.

"GMH has been fully re-accredited by the Joint Commission for the next three years. This is really a tribute to the hospital's efforts to continue moving the hospital forward and providing the best, safest care that we can," said administrator Joseph Verga. "In fact, GMH is the most remote, non-military civil hospital accredited under U.S. domestic standards and being out here in the south pacific as isolated as we are speaks volumes."

And it's the second time in a row GMH has garnered a JHACO accreditation - not an easy feat according to Verga who says GMH's plan of correction was accepted by JHACO. Their plan of correction addresses eight items ranging from the need to more frequently inspect fire alarm systems as well as pain management systems. Every four months, GMH will provide a report on the status of these items.

"We're not out of the woods and we're not done by any stretch of the imagination but the people of Guam can rightly be proud of their hospital," he said.

Along with the quarterly reports GMH will be submitting, Verga welcomes a mid-cycle inspection, what he says 20% of accredited hospitals nationwide are subject to. "We are survey ready all the time. This is the way we operate every day and we're not doing anything special just because joint commission is coming," he said.

The good news follows an unannounced visit from the Joint Commission in April in which a survey team consisting of a physician, nurse, and an administrative engineer assessed GMH for a compliance with standards of care specific to patient needs, including infection prevention and control, leadership, and medication management. While at GMH, the team even spoke with hospital patients and their families to survey for the quality of communication between patients, nurses, doctors and to rate overall services and facilities.

Next on the hospital's agenda?

Working with the Calvo Administration to identify funding to payout an estimated $1.8 million in increments owed to hospital employees. And that's not all. Later this week, GMH is scheduled to present their FY2014 budget request to lawmakers where they'll need $144 million for operations looking ahead.

That's slated for Friday at 8 a.m. at the Legislature's Public Hearing Room.

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