Joint Commission denies Virginia Mason full accreditation after discovering safety issues

A string of bad news at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle continues this week as the Joint Commission denied the hospital full accreditation after a surprise review in May revealed noncompliance with 29 standards, according to The Seattle Times. The accreditation announcement follows news of a possible hepatitis B exposure at the hospital affecting nearly 650 patients.

The Joint Commission made its unannounced visit to the medical center May 20. Commission members who surveyed the hospital concluded that a condition existed "that posed a threat to patients or other individuals served," according to the report, and the Joint Commission issued a preliminary denial of accreditation.

Following another visit on June 1, the Joint Commission issued a contingent accreditation to Virginia Mason. According to the Joint Commission's website, this status occurs when a healthcare organization "has successfully abated an immediate threat to life situation through direct observation or other method," among other possibilities.

Some standards Virginia Mason was deemed out of compliance on include labeling all medications, conducting fire drills, implementing an infection prevention and control plan, inspecting and maintaining medical equipment and managing safety and security risks.

Virginia Mason spokesman Gale Robinette explained there are several parts to each Joint Commission standards, and if a facility misses any part, it is considered out of compliance.

"Let's take an easy one," Mr. Robinette told The Seattle Times. "We do have fire drills. But in the view of the Joint Commission surveyor, there should be more variability in the scheduling of our drills."

The spokesman declined to comment further to The Seattle Times on how the hospital failed to comply with the rest of the standards included in the Joint Commission report. A statement released to the Times by Virginia Mason indicates hospital officials are "confident we will address [the issues] to the Joint Commission's satisfaction in the coming weeks."

The accrediting agency will conduct another unannounced follow-up survey at Virginia Mason within the next three months to make sure the hospital has corrected the deficiencies identified in the original survey.

For a complete list of the 29 Joint Commission standards Virginia Mason failed to meet, click here.



More articles on safety violations:
Dirty scopes infect 16 Huntington Hospital patients, including 11 who died
South Dakota hospital set to lose Medicare funding over EMTALA violations
Vermont hospital makes changes after citation for patient rights violations

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