Hospital seeks recommendation from medical inspectors

The GW Hospital is trying to retain a recommendation from a medical group that inspects hospital trauma centers after being denied last month.

The American College of Surgeons makes recommendations to the city about whether local hospitals should maintain their status as Level One trauma centers. The organization refrained from recommending five of six area hospitals, including the GW Hospital.

The Washington Post reported Nov. 20 that GW Hospital lost its Level One trauma accreditation. Level One trauma centers are specialized trauma units that are staffed round-the-clock with surgeons and support staff, according to the Post. Hospital staff members are trained to treat patients who are injured by gunfire, car crashes, falls or fires. A Level Two or Level Three facility also provides trauma treatment, but there is no requirement to maintain round-the-clock trauma teams.

But Robert Shesser, professor and chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine, said the hospital has maintained accreditation.

Shesser said the city is the only entity qualified to take accreditation away and that the ACS merely makes recommendations. He said ACS requested further information from GW Hospital officials and still might recommend the hospital maintain Level One status.

GW Hospital Media Relations Coordinator Amy Pianalto said the process of seeking a recommendation is ongoing. She said the initial denial from ACS is not a threat.

We’re confident we’ll maintain the Level One certification, Pianalto said.

MedStar at Washington Hospital Center was the only District hospital deemed verifiable by ACS, according to The Post article. D.C. General Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Georgetown University Hospital and Howard University Hospital are now all scrambling to fix their programs and prepare for reconsideration in the coming months, according to the article.

GW Hospital officials are planning to do the same.

The hospital mostly needs to show ACS more documentation, Shesser said. For example, he said the hospital needed to provide the minutes from a meeting of a trauma research committee. Hospital officials are in the process of gathering the information ACS requested.

Director of the Trauma Department of ACS Gerald O. Strauch said he could not comment on individual hospital cases because of confidentiality agreements with hospitals.

GW officials said the ACS requests were minor.

It doesn’t necessarily have to do with outcomes or standards of care, Shesser said. It’s a matter of having all your `t’s crossed and your `i’s dotted.

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