By demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission's highest national standards for safety and quality of care, Palmerton Hospital, part of the Blue Mountain Health System, has earned the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approvalâ„¢ and has received re-accreditation for three years.

"We sought re-accreditation for our organization because we want to demonstrate our commitment to patient safety and quality care," says Andrew E. Harris, president and chief executive office of the Blue Mountain Health System. "We view obtaining Joint Commission re-accreditation as another step toward achieving excellence. Accreditation also shows our ongoing compliance with Joint Commission standards which results in sound management practices in the day-to-day delivery of safe, high quality care. In fact, the Joint Commission survey serves as an independent audit of our organization's commitment to continuous quality improvement."

"We're proud to achieve this distinction," says Theresa Long, the Blue Mountain Health System's vice president of nursing. "Our staff's involvement in the accreditation process was vital to the success of the survey. "This recognition is especially rewarding, as it speaks to the dedication and medical expertise of our nurses, staff and physicians and their unwavering commitment to the highest standards of patient care. We congratulate and thank them all for their tremendous contributions and for receiving this outstanding recognition."

The Joint Commission conducted an unannounced, on-site evaluation of Palmerton Hospital in December 2009. The accreditation award recognizes the hospital's dedication to complying with the Joint Commission's state-of-the-art standards on a continuous basis.

"Above all, the national standards are intended to stimulate continuous, systematic and organization-wide improvement in an organization's performance and the outcomes of care," says Mark Pelletier, R.N., M.S, executive director, Hospital Programs, Accreditation and Certification Services, The Joint Commission. "The community should be proud that the Blue Mountain Health System's Palmerton Hospital is focusing on the most challenging goal to continuously raise quality and safety to higher levels."

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 8,000 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,800 other health care organizations that provide long term care, assisted living, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. The Joint Commission also accredits health plans, integrated delivery networks, and other managed care entities. In addition, The Joint Commission provides certification of disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers, and health care staffing services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care.