The Nevada Cancer Institute has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for patient safety and quality care, officials said Monday.
This designation also means the state’s flagship cancer research institution is accredited by the nation’s largest accrediting health body, which will subject it to unannounced inspections every three years.
"We’re actually practicing what we preach,” said Cheryl Martin, chief operating officer for oncology services, about institute’s new status. "By achieving this status, Joint Commission accreditation, our patients know that safety is our top priority. … It is our culture.”
Martin said the cancer institute "voluntarily" applied for Joint Commission accreditation in November and, in July, received a visit from a pharmacy surveyor. The surveyor conducted a three-day, on-site inspection of the facility.
The visit included reviews of the quality and safety of patient care, an investigation into the institute’s business and record keeping practices, and delivery of care.
The surveyor looked at how well the institute transferred critically ill patients to area hospitals, such as University Medical Center, and took note of its electronic medical records system, which helps prevent mistakes by not allowing physicians to use abbreviations, Martin said.
Heather Murren, co-founder of the institute and chairwoman of its board of directors, said the institute sought accreditation to "demonstrate our commitment to patients’ safety and quality care.”
Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager and state Sen. Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, praised the Nevada Cancer Institute and its employees for the achievement during an event at the facility on Monday.
The institute is in the districts Brager and Carlton represent.
Last month, the Nevada Cancer Institute announced it would have to lay off 50 of its 383 employees because a souring economy has slowed philanthropic efforts.
The layoffs did not impact patient care, Murren said.
Contact reporter Annette Wells at awells@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283.