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UNHS passes Joint Commission inspection with flying colors - Medically Speaking, Volume One, Number Three 9/12/13

UNHS passes Joint Commission inspection with flying colors

Administrators and staff members at three Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. clinics were visited by members of the Joint Commission on August 12-14, and passed with flying colors an arduous, detailed inspection of their operations.

Not only did the three clinics survive the meticulous inspections, they did so without one single discrepancy in two completely separate areas of operation, earning the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval ® accreditation. The accreditation award recognizes UNHS's dedication to continuous compliance with the Joint Commission's state-of-the-art standards. According to UNHS COO, Michael Jensen, Joint Commission inspectors put the organization under a microscope in the areas of ambulatory excellence (medical, dental, behavioral health, etc.), and a new category known as Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH).

The ambulatory operations of UNHS underwent a thorough inspection at the Blanding Family Practice Community Center, Montezuma Creek Community Health Center and the Monument Valley Community Health Center. Every aspect of clinical operations, dealing with patient care and safety was inspected, Jensen said, and at every clinic UNHS met the Joint Commission's standards of care with no citations.

"It's almost unheard of to get 'zero' findings in a Joint Commission inspection," Jensen said. "This was an awesome experience."

The PCMH operation is new for UNHS, and as such, its operation was only examined at Blanding Family Practice. PCMH deals with the communications between UNHS and its patients, and ensuring that patients have access to medical records and medical care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This includes extended hours during the week and on weekends.

Under PCMH, UNHS patients can access their own medical records on line through a method called 'Patient Portal.' Each patient has his/her own primary care provider – known as empanelment or continuity of care. Patients can receive medical help when their own clinic is closed, by calling Blue Mountain Hospital, in Blanding. Nurses at Blue Mountain Hospital are trained to answer patient questions, access patient medical records, make appointments for patients with their primary care physicians or refer them to an emergency room as needed.

The Patient Portal also allows patients to communicate with their provider, make appointments and receive confirmation of those appointments, check medication records and billing information, etc.

Patients, providers and staff were interviewed regarding the PCMH program and how they believed the

program was working. Again, Joint Commission inspectors found no problems, and offered no citations

for the new PCMH program.

Jensen said the PCMH program will now be rolled out to all UNHS community health centers in San Juan County, so all patients will have access to the program, and 24-hour access to medical records and assistance.

UNHS first passed a Joint Commission inspection in 2004. The organization continues to enjoy the Joint Commission's accreditation with the Gold Seal of Approval ® for its strong showing in this most recent inspection. The Joint Commission Approval means

UNHS patients will continue to receive the highest quality of health care possible. UNHS serves the residents on and near the Utah Portion of the Navajo Reservation with four community health centers in Blanding, Montezuma Creek, Monument Valley and Navajo Mountain.

The Joint Commission was founded in 1951, and seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint

Commission evaluates and accredits more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 10,600 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,600 other health care organizations that provide long term care, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. The Joint Commission also certifies more than 2,400 disease-specific care programs such as stroke, heart failure, joint replacement and stroke rehabilitation, and 400 health care staffing services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.

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