Joint Commission’s Gold Seal Certifies Southcoast Orthopedics as Advanced Program

The Southcoast Health Orthopedic Surgery Total Joint Replacement Team (l-r): Dr. Christopher Skeehan, Dr. Joseph Lifrak, Nurse Practitioner Vanessa Valcorba, Nurse Practitioner Alicia Pimentel, Nurse Navigator Cheryl Ellis, Nurse Navigator Martha Marshall, Physician Assistant Greg Goodwin, Dr. Michael Langworthy (not pictured: Physician Assistant Devin Bean and Nurse Practitioner Joan Wildenhain)

“Earning Advanced Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement certification from the Joint Commission demonstrates the elevated performance and successful outcomes that our team works toward every day,” Dr. Michael Langworthy said. “We are grateful and proud.”

The Joint Commission, a global authority on quality improvement and patient safety in health care, has granted its Gold Seal certification to Southcoast Health’s orthopedic surgery centers at Charlton Memorial and St. Luke’s in Advanced Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement, officials announced this week.

The certification – the only one offered in collaboration with both the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons as well as the American Joint Replacement Registry – was awarded after a process spanning six years, including extensive site visits and surveys conducted by the Joint Commission, an independent, not-for-profit organization universally recognized as health care’s preeminent accreditor.

“There were dozens of nurses, providers and staff deeply committed to making this happen on behalf of our patients,” said Southcoast Health President and CEO Ray Kruger, MD. “The communities we serve across southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island continue to present with an increasing need for orthopedic procedures. This gold seal offers further assurance that you and your loved ones are in the best possible hands here.”

Southcoast Health Chief of Orthopedics Michael Langworthy, MD, agreed.

“Earning Advanced Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement certification from the Joint Commission demonstrates the elevated performance and successful outcomes that our team works toward every day,” Langworthy said. “We are grateful and proud.”

The goal of achieving Joint Commission certification aligns fully with the Southcoast Total Joint Program’s overarching mission, said Medical Director Christopher Skeehan, MD.

“We are dedicated to providing excellent, evidence-based care for individuals who require or will require hip or knee replacement surgery,” Skeehan said. “We always strive to deliver high-quality, cost-effective service in a timely and comprehensive way, so to be recognized as a leader validates our vision.”

Dr. Joseph Lifrak congratulated his colleagues on what he called an impressive accomplishment.

“The results our team produces for our patients and the protocols we have in place as a program put us at the forefront of modern orthopedic joint replacement surgery,” Lifrak said. “When your body is in debilitating pain or you suffer an injury that impacts your daily life, you want the best help you can get. The Joint Commission’s arduous process – along with this prestigious honor – has borne out that Southcoast Health provides exactly that.”

The Southcoast Orthopedic program brought the same multidisciplinary approach to the Joint Commission Advanced Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement accreditation process that they bring to each case, according to Program Coordinator Alicia Pimentel, NP.

“It was vital to our success that this be a collective effort, and everyone contributed their skills and knowledge so that the program could shine under even the most rigorous evaluation,” Pimentel said. “Our surgeons, advanced practice providers, nurse navigators, inpatient and outpatient RNs, anesthesia teams, visiting nurses, physical therapy and rehab staff, clinical support across the hospitals, schedulers, pre- and peri- and post-operative personnel … we all played significant roles, just like we do for every patient.”

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