Montana VA awarded hospital accreditation from Joint Commission - Montana VA Health Care System
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Montana VA Health Care System

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Montana VA awarded hospital accreditation from Joint Commission

January 12, 2017


Montana VA awarded hospital accreditation from Joint Commission

Fort Harrison, Mont. – The VA Montana Health Care System recently completed all requirements necessary to have earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Hospital Accreditation by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards.

The Fort Harrison VA hospital and its related services have continuously maintained Joint Commission accreditation since 1961.

The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient care.

VA Montana underwent a rigorous, unannounced onsite survey in mid-October. During the review, a team of Joint Commission expert surveyors evaluated compliance with hospital standards related to several areas, including emergency management, environment of care, infection prevention and control, leadership, and medication management. Surveyors also conducted onsite observations and interviews at various sites of care across the state.

“We were Accredited for the Hospital Accreditation Program which includes our outpatient clinics across the state, Behavioral Health Accreditation Program, and the Home Care Accreditation Program,” said Edna Clausen, VA Montana accreditation manager.

The survey did make several recommendations for improvement related to home oxygen care, fire safety, care planning and other minor areas.

Clausen said VA Montana submitted its verification report in mid-December confirming that every finding in these areas had been corrected. Local staff learned Jan. 3 The Joint Commission had accepted this report officially completing the accreditation process which is effective until Fall 2019.

The Joint Commission has accredited hospitals for more than 60 years. More than 4,000 general, children’s, long-term acute, psychiatric, rehabilitation and specialty hospitals currently maintain accreditation from The Joint Commission. In addition, approximately 360 critical access hospitals maintain accreditation through a separate program.

“Joint Commission accreditation provides hospitals with the processes needed to improve in a variety of areas from the enhancement of staff education to the improvement of daily business operations,” said Mark G. Pelletier, RN, MS, chief operating officer, Division of Accreditation and Certification Operations, The Joint Commission.

“In addition, our accreditation helps hospitals enhance their risk management and risk reduction strategies,” Pelletier said. “We commend the VA Montana Health Care System for its efforts to become a quality improvement organization.”

“We are very pleased to receive accreditation from The Joint Commission, the premier health care accrediting body in the nation,” added Dr. Kathy Berger, Director of the VA Montana Health Care System. “VA staff across our organization continue to work together to develop and implement approaches to improve care for our Montana Veterans.”

The Joint Commission’s hospital standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. The standards are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help hospitals measure, assess and improve performance.


The Joint Commission

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission 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 accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit 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


VA Montana Health Care System

The VA Montana Health Care System serves Veterans across Montana, an area roughly 147,000 square miles in size. Our 47,000 enrolled Veterans are supported by a staff of about 1,200 (over a third are Veterans themselves) at 17 sites of care across the state including: the Fort Harrison hospital, the Billings Health Care Center, eleven Community Based Outpatient Clinics, two Primary Care Tele-health Outreach Clinics, the Miles City Community Living Center, and the Helena Sleep Disorders Center. VA Montana is proud of the support it receives from over 500 volunteers and its innovative approach to rural healthcare.