June 5, 2009 — St. Croix's Juan F. Luis Hospital has been given full accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations, ensuring continued eligibility for critical Medicare and Medicaid payments to the hospital.
Carmelo Rivera, chairman of the St. Croix District Governing Board of Directors of the Virgin Islands Government Hospital and Health Facilities Corporation, the board which oversees the hospital, told the board of the full accreditation during a special meeting Friday evening. Juan Luis's accreditation was in jeopardy last fall after a survey by the Joint Commission found problems. (See "Luis Hospital Fails To Gain Accreditation.")
Rivera read the letter from the Joint Commission reinstating their prior three-year accreditation, noting it is in force through 2010.
"That is quite a bit of good news," Rivera said. "Especially in recent days, since after we got what I call the ugly report on status. I think most hospitals would have caved in and accepted the determination. Our staff and board worked hard and convinced the joint commission this hospital is better than what they were hearing in that one survey. Now we have the full report and are fully accredited.
Gregory Calliste, the hospital's chief executive officer, said a follow-up survey would be coming.
"We just need to continue to be prepared and perform well on the next follow up survey," Calliste said.
The Joint Commission is the main hospital and health care accreditation organization in the U.S. Established in 1951, it is an independent, non-profit organization that evaluates and accredits almost 15,000 health-care organizations and programs in the U.S. The commission re-accredits hospitals every three years. According to their website, Juan Luis is conditionally accredited as of June 10.
The hospital's pathology and clinical laboratory is listed as fully accredited.
During a closed executive session, the board discussed personnel and discipline issues relating to the recent discovery and correction of breaches of infection protocol in the hospital's kidney dialysis unit. (See "100 Potentially Exposed to Hepatitis B at Hospital.") In that case, a single patient who already carried the Hepatitis B virus was not properly separated from other patients, putting almost 100 other patients at potential risk.
"We took some measures to ensure doctors do what they are supposed to do," Rivera said after the meeting adjourned. "And made certain there are consequences for violating these protocols."
Rivera emphasized proper procedures had been reestablished and no patients were infected or harmed.
"There is no indication any patient was hurt," he said.
Present were Calliste, boardmembers Rivera, Imelda Dizon, Valdemar Hill Jr., Wallace Phaire, Chief Operating Officer Darice Plaskett, doctors Robert Centeno and Kendall Griffin and administrators Joyce Heyliger and Wendy O'Brian-O'Reilly.
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