Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton earned the Joint Commission’s certification for hip and knee replacement, and spine surgery — the first and only hospital to receive this distinction in the region.

The hospital’s intense focus on orthopedic care over the past five years mirrors the growing prevalence of joint replacement procedures in the United States and has led it to establish the Center for Orthopedic & Spine Health. The multi-disciplinary program brings together a highly trained team of orthopedic specialists, pain management professionals, and physical and occupational therapists.

“Certification from the Joint Commission is evidence of RWJ Hamilton’s long-standing commitment to quality and establishes the hospital as a destination center for orthopedic care in the Capital Region,” says Joyce Schwarz, vice president of quality at RWJ Hamilton.

The program offers a full range of orthopedic services, from minimally invasive to trauma and other complex procedures. In addition to joint replacement and spine surgery, the program also treats injuries and conditions affecting the neck, shoulder, hands, and feet.

“The success of all hospital programs is measured on quality patient care and outcomes,” says John DiBiase, MD, a surgeon with Trenton Orthopedic Group and chief of orthopedic surgery at RWJ Hamilton. “RWJ Hamilton’s orthopedic program performed so well that the Joint Commission provided no recommendations for improvements during its recent evaluation. That level of quality is exceptional and unmatched in the region. We owe these results to the outstanding surgeons and to the highly intelligent and dedicated nursing staff.”

The Joint Commission’s review evaluated RWJ Hamilton for compliance with standards of care specific to the needs of orthopedic patients and families, including infection prevention, leadership, and pain and blood management.

“Certification is a voluntary process, and I commend RWJ Hamilton for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate its standard of care,” says Jean Range, MS, RN, CPHQ, executive director, Disease-Specific Care Certification, the Joint Commission.

Over the course of the year, hundreds of surveys are sent to RWJ Hamilton’s orthopedic patients following their hospital stay by a third-party (Press Ganey, the leading patient satisfaction organization in the US); those results are reported to the hospital for constant monitoring. In 2012 and 2013, the hospital’s orthopedic unit ranked in the 95th percentile of hospitals nationwide.

“RWJ Hamilton has designed an orthopedic program that provides university-level care in a community hospital setting,” says Schwarz. “I can tell you, that’s not easy to achieve.”

Center for Orthopedic & Spine Health, 877-700-0531.

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