By Lori Lyn Lirio
A COMMONWEALTH of Northern Mariana Islands lawmaker said local residents need not worry about the loss of accreditation by the Guam Memorial Hospital.
Thus said Senator Teresita Santos as she noted that the GMH’s recent lost of accreditation from the Joint Commission has no impact to CNMI patient referrals as the hospital has not been terminated by CMS or Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
GMH, after review from the commission’s surveyor team in August 2017 and follow-up onsite survey in January, was denied accreditation by the Joint Commission, citing 40 issues that that “found to be out of compliance.”
“It is indeed sad that Guam Memorial Hospital, the hospital that serves majority of our CNMI referrals, has recently lost its accreditation,” she said.
The senator said funding plays a critical factor in ensuring delivery of quality healthcare, services and programs.
“We cannot expect a high standard of health care with the absence of adequate funding.”
However, she expressed confidence that without the JGS accreditation, “GMH will continue to maintain high standard in delivering patients’ care and in a safe environment as it has always done.”
JGS, according to CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muña is an approved CMS surveyor.
“One can be CMS certified and not be Joint Commission accredited. If an organization opts for Joint Commission certification, like GMH, once they are accredited, they are also deemed as compliant with CMS,” Muña said.
She further explained that when a hospital loses accreditation from the Joint Commission, the CMS will conduct its own survey before handing a termination status.
“From what I’ve read, they have not been terminated by CMS.”
CHCC, according to Muña, was not in Joint Commission.
“CMS certifies the territories already. An eligible hospital has an option to apply for Joint Commission accreditation and pay a significant fee. CHCC did discuss such an option with CMS and we are satisfied that at this time, we only need the CMS certification.”
However, she said hospital that has certification from CMS and/or the Joint Commission assures the patients that when they are treated it follows the standards of care as required by the certification agencies – including upholding patient safety and providing health quality.