St. Vincent Medical Center is one of six hospitals nationwide to receive advanced certification in spine surgery

Hartford HealthCare St. Vincent’s Medical Center recently became one of only six hospitals in the nation to receive advanced certification in spinal surgery following rigorous review by the Joint Commission, an independent organization dedicated to improving health care for the public.

Collaboration between the Ayer Neuroscience Institute and the Connecticut Orthopedic Institute in St. Vincent resulted in the certification – one of only two in Connecticut. The only other Connecticut facility with this designation is Hartford HealthCare’s Connecticut Orthopedic Institute at MidState Medical Center in Meriden. These accreditations make Hartford HealthCare the only system in Connecticut with advanced spine certification.

“The certification is a great collaborative effort between the Ayer Neuroscience Institute and the Connecticut Orthopedic Institute,” said Gerard Girasole, MD, co-medical director of the Connecticut Orthopedic Institute at St. Vincent Medical Center. “This clearly distinguishes the St. Vincent’s Spine Program as the first accredited spine institution in Fairfield County and the first hospital in Fairfield County to have both spine accreditations and total joint accreditations. We look forward to continuing our center of excellence for spine care.

The Joint Commission’s extensive two-day in-person review focused on preoperative care and education, standardizing practices, procedures and care for patients and focused on everything from preoperative consultations postoperative consultations with spine surgeons communication and collaboration between clinicians.

“Hartford HealthCare’s Ayer Neuroscience Institute and the Connecticut Orthopedic Institute have partnered to create something special. Advanced Spine Certification is a rarely-awarded recognition that symbolizes our dedication to going above and beyond for our patients,” said Khalid Abbed, MD, Co-Chief Medical Officer, Ayer Neuroscience Institute. “The certification is a symbol of the compassionate, personalized and innovative care our spine program provides to each of the lives we are privileged to touch.”

The review also assessed the consistent use of care teams and adherence to clinical practice guidelines. In addition, the Joint Commission determined that St. Vincent adheres to data collection guidelines and participates, when required, in the American Spine Registry, which measures complications and clinical outcomes. To be eligible for certification, the hospital must have served at least 200 spine patients.

“I’m so proud of the teams at the Ayer Neuroscience Institute and the Connecticut Orthopedic Institute,” said Bill Jennings, president of Hartford HealthCare Fairfield Region. “The way they have worked together, with a consistent focus on the patient, has led to a standard of care that makes our whole county better and safer.”

Spinal disease is one of the most common diseases, with more than 1.2 million surgeries performed each year in the United States, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

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