Joint Commission to evaluate St. Mary's over patient safety concerns

The Joint Commission is evaluating patient safety-related events at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla., after a CNN investigation claimed the hospital's pediatric mortality rate for open heart surgeries nearly tripled the national average.

According to an emailed statement from the accrediting agency, "The Joint Commission is aware of reports of patient safety-related events at St. Mary's Medical Center, and the Office of Quality and Patient Safety is currently evaluating those reports. The Joint Commission takes patient safety and quality concerns very seriously."

Although The Joint Commission cannot comment on individual organizations, when the agency's Office of Quality and Patient Safety receives notification of a patient safety-related event at an accredited healthcare organization, it initially evaluates whether the event relates to one or more Joint Commission standards, according to the statement.

If the events do relate to Joint Commission standards, the agency will launch an evaluation that focuses on assessing the organization's overall compliance with those standards and follow up to verify that improvements have been made to prevent a similar incident from occurring.  

The Joint Commission is not the only organization that is looked into patient safety complaints at St. Mary's Medical Centers; CMS launched its own investigation into the hospital in early June.

Not long after the CNN report, St. Mary's Medical Center suspended elective pediatric heart surgeries and announced it launched a comprehensive review of its pediatric cardiac surgery program, which includes soliciting and utilizing external experts and bringing in other additional resources.



More articles on patient safety:
Patient safety tool: AWHONN releases fetal heart monitoring e-book
Report reveals many patients endangered by dietary errors: 5 risk-reduction strategies
Patient safety tool: APIC's hand hygiene implementation guide

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