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WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital inpatient brain injury program awarded prestigious accreditation

January 22, 2016

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Lauren Ruth, left, speech language pathologist; Kathrine Bakke-Friedland, center, psychologist; and Haley Smith, recreational therapist, work with brain injury patients at WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital.

Program is first in south central Pennsylvania to receive CARF designation

WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital has become the first hospital in south central Pennsylvania – and one of only 10 in the state – to be awarded a prestigious three-year specialty accreditation from CARF International for inpatient brain injury rehabilitation.

The accreditation represents the highest level that can be awarded by CARF to an organization and is a recognized mark of excellence for a program’s quality of care.

In addition to the brain injury accreditation, CARF also reaccredited WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital as a Comprehensive Integrated Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospital for Adults with all diagnoses. The hospital first achieved that accreditation shortly after it opened in 2012.

“Families are searching for the best program to take care of a patient who has experienced a life-altering, devastating injury or medical event, and they want to make sure they send their family member to the best place,” said Barbara Yarrish, senior vice president for post-acute services, WellSpan, and president of WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital. “We can tell them with confidence our program is sound and recognized nationally through CARF International.”

WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital’s proximity to WellSpan York Hospital, which is a Level 1 Trauma Center that receives critically injured patients, was one of the reasons staff decided to pursue the brain injury specialty accreditation, Yarrish said.

Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and now known as CARF International, the accrediting body establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services.

To date, only 10 organizations in Pennsylvania and fewer than 140 in the world have been awarded a three-year accreditation as a Comprehensive Integrated Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospital for Adults – Brain Injury Specialty Program, according to CARF International. Most in Pennsylvania are in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas.

WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital undertook a rigorous peer review process, and demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable and of the highest quality.

Hugh H. Gregory, MD, medical director of inpatient rehabilitation, WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital, noted the leadership of physiatrist Bessie Joy Perkey, MD, who is fellowship-trained in brain injuries, and others on the team who spearheaded the accreditation process.

The hospital includes an eight-bed secure brain injury unit. Its brain injury rehabilitation program encompasses both patients inside and outside of the unit, and with both traumatic and non-traumatic brain injuries.

The CARF recognition, combined with the comprehensiveness of the program and the well-trained clinical team, reinforces for patients and families that WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital is providing the latest in brain injury treatment, Gregory said.

While the brain injury program is the first CARF specialty accreditation for the hospital, within the next 18 months the facility plans to pursue others.

Other specialty accreditations under consideration for WellSpan Surgery and Rehabilitation Hospital include amputee and spinal cord injury rehabilitation, as well as stroke rehabilitation – building on the recognition of WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital, WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital, WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital and WellSpan York Hospital as primary stroke centers.