Reynolds Army Health Clinic awarded Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission

By Joel McfarlandJanuary 23, 2023

FORT SILL, OK – Reynolds Army Health Clinic (RAHC) has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Ambulatory Health Care, Behavioral Health Care and Human Services, and Primary Care Medical Home Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. The Gold Seal is a symbol of quality that reflects a health care organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care.

Reynolds Army Health Clinic underwent a rigorous, unannounced onsite review on 16-18 November 2022. During the visit, a team of Joint Commission reviewers evaluated compliance with the Ambulatory, Behavioral and Patient Centered Medical Home standards spanning several areas including environment of care, infection prevention and control, medication management, and care, treatment, and services.

The Joint Commission’s standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. They are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help health care organizations measure, assess, and improve performance. The surveyors also conducted onsite observations and interviews.

“As a private accreditor, The Joint Commission surveys health care organizations to protect the public by identifying deficiencies in care and working with those organizations to correct them as quickly and sustainably as possible,” says Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, chief operating officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and chief nursing executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend Reynolds Army Health Clinic for its continuous quality improvement efforts in patient safety and quality of care.”

RAHC began preparation for the triennial inspection in January 2020. “Nearly every medical facility in the United States, civilian and military, undergoes an inspection from The Joint Commission every three years,” said Dr. Francella Smoker the Joint Commission and Process Improvement Coordinator for RAHC. “Here at Reynolds, we conduct tracers, which are internal inspections done by our Functional Management Champions and the Quality and Safety team, to ensure our clinics continue to conduct the high-quality care they always deliver in accordance with The Joint Commission standards.”

“When you consider that tracers are the primary tool used by surveyors to follow the experience of care through the organization's entire healthcare delivery process, it truly helps to identify potential vulnerabilities as well as processes that are working or not working well and brings home how important tracers are in the TJC process,” continued Dr. Smoker.

Reynolds also went through an Accreditation Assist Visit (AAV) survey in February 2022, which is a practice run for The Joint Commission survey. The main goal of the AAV was to highlight the survey process and develop a roadmap for RAHC to follow as a guide for their TJC inspection. “Since we took the time to chisel out a roadmap from the AAV experience we were able to develop a plan of action that fully prepared us for our TJC survey with no major unforeseen obstacles during the three-day inspection,” said Dr. Smoker. In March 2022 the Department of Defense’s new electronic health record, MHS GENESIS, launched at RAHC. “This added another layer of complexity for our Clinical staff as they had to learn a completely new electronic healthcare delivery system on top of their Joint Commission preparations,” said Dr. Smoker. “By the time our survey was announced in November of 2022 our team was more than prepared to impress the surveyors with the safe, high-quality, accessible, patient-centered care we provide at RAHC.”

Healthcare practices that were specifically noted by the Joint Commission survey team were RAHC’s Patient Centered Medical Home’s management of diabetic patient care with one surveyor calling it a Leading Practice across the healthcare space. "The Joint Commission Surveyor Team was very knowledgeable about current health practices and had very specific questions about diabetic patient goals. The RAHC clinical team: clinical pharmacists, nurses and providers do a great job of educating, setting goals and helping patients achieve their diabetic goals,” said Dr. Janet Seratte the Clinical Pharmacist who spearheaded the diabetic patient care practices. Additional accolades were given to a doctor in the RAHC Pharmacy whose “Process Improvement project should be shared with other organizations,” and the team at the Army Wellness Center who “were so genuine and dedicated to taking care of Drill Instructors so they can care for Trainees”

Reynolds Army Health Clinic Commander and Director of the Central Oklahoma Small Market under the Defense Health Agency, Col. Daniel Bridon, echoed Dr. Smoker’s attitude of preparedness. “The Joint Commission survey was a great success, to perform at the level we did during a survey as rigorous as one from The Joint Commission takes consistent effort and sustained daily work from everyone, and is a testament to the care we provide to our Beneficiaries in the Lawton/Fort Sill community,” said Col. Bridon.

For more information, please visit The Joint Commission website.