By Mr. Douglas Demaio (Army Medicine)May 28, 2013
VILSECK, Germany -- Health care leaders here are delighted with the results of an inspection of its Military Treatment Facilities in Bavaria from May 21 to May 23 by an external organization.
Clinics in Bamberg, Grafenwoehr, Hohenfels, Illesheim, Katterbach, Schweinfurt and Vilseck all passed The Joint Commission's accreditation, which is recognized as a nationwide symbol of quality care and reflects an organization's commitment to meeting performance standards.
"Meeting a national standard says something about our organization and how we compare with the best medical facilities in the nation," said Lt. Col. Gayla Wilson, Deputy Commander of Nursing for Bavaria Medical Department Activity.
The purpose of a Joint Commission survey is to ensure facilities meet National Patient Safety Goals and provide quality care and safety.
"As part of the BMEDDAC team, as well as a beneficiary and a husband and father of beneficiaries, I am pleased that our ambulatory care and behavioral health clinics are recognized for providing safe and high-quality patient care," said Dr. (Lt. Col.) Mathew Rice, Deputy Commander of Clinical Services for BMEDDAC.
Meeting the accreditation is noteworthy, but further work is necessary to preserve patient care and safety.
"No matter what you do, you get used to your way of doing it, so by having an outside organization come in, they improve our productivity, our patient safety and our quality of care," Wilson said.
Clinic staff did well in several areas of the inspection, but the surveyors' extensive expertise assisted with better practices.
"We hope we are able to make a difference and inspire you to reach for a higher standard," surveyor Paul Hargis said at the onset of the inspection.
The surveyors focused on the policies, procedural actions and systems that, when put into practice, should meet national standards, Hargis said, who served on The Joint Commission surveyor team as an expert in health care administration.
The surveyors highlighted areas of information management, medication management, care and services, and environmental wellbeing.
"The Joint Commission is really a partner with all the health care organizations who choose to become accredited through our services," said surveyor Dr. Lynette E. Mundey, who served on surveyor team as a board certified family medicine expert. "We really work diligently in partnering with organizations like the military to help improve the quality and safety of care that are provided to their patients. The military actually goes an extra step in bringing an external organization in so that they can have a second set of eyes."
Meeting the accreditation should give beneficiaries in Bavaria confidence in their clinics' medical practices.
"They should get a sense of security that in all the work the military does internally that the safety and quality of care is being provided," Mundey said. "It shows the commitment of an organization when they not only believe in their own quality controls, internally, but want to hear from someone outside the organization as to how well they are doing in providing care to their patients."
The Joint Commission is an independent, not-for-profit organization, which accredits and certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, according to its website.