BENNINGTON - The Joint Commission, the nation's gold standard for hospital accreditation, recently renewed the accreditation for Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC). The three-year accreditation demonstrates the hospital's dedication to ensuring that it provides high-quality patient care.

"SVMC is committed to providing care that meets or exceeds the highest standards," explained Thomas Dee, the hospital's president and CEO. "Joint Commission accreditation is an exacting process that involves a top-to-bottom review of our institution, including our hospital and our medical practices. Moreover, the process is voluntary. Our hospital willingly undergoes such a rigorous process because we want to demonstrate in every way possible that we provide the highest quality health care."

SVMC first achieved Joint Commission accreditation in 1951 and has been continuously accredited since then.

The hospital's latest Joint Commission accreditation visits took place over four days during early December. During this time, seven surveyors evaluated all aspects of the hospital, its medical practices, and the Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice. The surveyors assessed patient care, medication processing, policies and procedures, as well as the buildings themselves.

Joint Commission surveyors complimented SVMC for having best practices in several key areas. They recommended that SVMC submit these best practices to the Joint Commission's Leading Practices Library, which is available to all accredited organizations as a resource to further patient safety and quality health care.


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In the Women's and Children's Services department, the surveyors praised the Safe Arms program, designed to help newborns going through opioid withdrawal, and a color code system for medication dosing and sizing emergency equipment for pediatric patients.

In the Renal Dialysis unit, they praised the process for creating and maintaining patients' plans of care, the unit's comprehensive staff education and assessment program, and the fact that all technicians and staff are renal certified.

The surveyors also complimented the operating rooms' program for proactively identifying and addressing patients with high risk for post-operative complications to reduce the risk.

Lastly, they complimented the entire hospital for its focus on creating a culture of patient safety.

"We are proud not only to be accredited by the Joint Commission, but also to have our work featured as best-practices by the Joint Commission," said Carol Conroy, DNP, RN, CNOR, SVMC's chief nursing officer and vice president for operations. "Patients who choose to receive their care at SVMC can rest assured that we provide outstanding care that serves as the model for other institutions across the country."

Founded in 1951, the Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 20,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in healthcare. The Joint Commission is governed by a 32-member Board of Commissioners that includes physicians, administrators, nurses, employers, quality experts, a consumer advocate, and educators. The Joint Commission also includes corporate members: American College of Physicians, American College of Surgeons, American Dental Association, American Hospital Association, and American Medical Association.

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center is a full service community hospital that is part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), an integrated health system serving Bennington and Windham Counties in Vermont and nearby communities in New York and Massachusetts. In addition to the hospital, SVHC consists of the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, the VNA & Hospice of SVHC, the SVHC Foundation, and the SVMC Northshire and Deerfield Valley campuses. It also includes Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Physicians, a multispecialty medical group operated in partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock.