Hospital where nurse called 911 faces accreditation delay

Silverdale, Wash.-based St. Michael Medical Center, where a nurse called emergency services in response to staffing issues, is in the process of ensuring full accreditation after The Joint Commission issued a "preliminary denial of accreditation" in September. 

The accrediting body handed down the preliminary denial after finding performance issues in more than 30 areas, according to a quality check report, following a September survey. 

The Joint Commission can issue a preliminary denial for various reasons, including when patient health or safety is in immediate jeopardy; submission of misrepresented information; and patients having been at risk of serious adverse outcomes. Hospitals may appeal the preliminary denial.

St. Michael President Chad Melton issued the following statement to Becker's: "We are committed to providing the safest care possible to all our patients and take any findings for improvement seriously. The Joint Commission's preliminary findings were focused on a very specific patient population and set of clinical conditions — not the emergency department as a whole. While there were no findings of adverse harm to any patients, we immediately developed and implemented an action plan to address any potential concerns, which was accepted by The Joint Commission. Following the action plan, St. Michael Medical Center was cleared through an initial on-site survey, and we are in the process of receiving final clearance for full accreditation."

The hospital is involved in the accreditation process as it has received media attention related to an Oct. 8 incident in which Kelsay Irby, RN, called emergency services for help. UFCW 3000, which represents St. Michael workers, began circulating a petition over the staffing issues that led to the call and other concerns about infection control, payroll errors and building maintenance. The petition calls for the resignation of both President Chad Melton and Chief Nursing Officer Jeanell Rasmussen, RN, citing "years of ineffective response" to issues at St. Michael. 

Virginia Mason Franciscan, the umbrella system of St. Michael, said on its website: "We're doing everything we can to alleviate those challenges at SMMC by listening to our staff and community, redoubling our recruitment and workforce development efforts, and paying our nursing staff some of the highest rates in the state, as well as utilizing traveler nurses to fill vacancies. We know we still have work to do, and we’re committed to doing it."

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