Saint Luke's Hospital ventricular assist device program earns Gold Seal

June 29, 2010

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (June 29, 2010) — Saint Luke's Hospital has earned the Gold Seal of Approval™ for health care quality. The Joint Commission awarded Saint Luke's Hospital Disease-Specific Care Certification for Ventricular Assist Device.

To earn this distinction, a disease management program undergoes an extensive, unannounced, on-site evaluation by a team of Joint Commission reviewers every two years. The program is evaluated against Joint Commission standards through an assessment of a program's processes, the program's ability to evaluate and improve care within its own organization, and interviews with patients and staff.

A Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) is a mechanical pump that is used to support heart function and blood flow in patients who have weakened hearts. A VAD is often used before or after surgery until the heart recovers, or to support the heart while a patient awaits a heart transplant. Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute offers the area's only heart transplant program. A VAD may also be used as a permanent treatment for patients who are not heart transplant candidates. Permanent therapy – also known as destination therapy – is used for end-stage heart failure patients who are ineligible for a transplant due to age, additional health problems, or other complications.

“This certification means Saint Luke's Hospital does the right things and does them well for ventricular assist device patients,” said Jean E. Range, MS, RN, CPHQ, executive director, Disease-Specific Care Certification, Joint Commission.

“Saint Luke's Hospital voluntarily pursued this comprehensive, independent evaluation to enhance the safety and quality of care we provide,” said VAD Coordinator Nancy Richards, RN, MSN, CCRN, CCNS, Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute. “We're proud to achieve this distinction.”

The Joint Commission launched its Disease-Specific Care Certification program in 2002. It is the first program of its kind in the country to certify disease management programs. A list of programs certified by the Joint Commission is available at

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 nearly 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. Learn more about the Joint Commission at