The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for its chronic obstructive pulmonary disease program by demonstrating continuous compliance with national standards for health care quality and safety in disease-specific care. UTMB received the commission’s seal after enduring a rigorous on-site review earlier this month.

The commission's advanced certification for COPD, developed in conjunction with the American Lung Association, provides standards for outpatient and ambulatory care settings including staff education requirements, use of spirometry, smoking cessation, risk factor reduction, coordination of care and patient education on on self-management of COPD..

"In achieving Joint Commission advanced certification, UTMB has demonstrated its commitment to the highest level of care for its patients with COPD,” said Michele Sacco, interim executive director of the commission’s certification programs. “Certification is a voluntary process and I commend UTMB for successfully undertaking this challenge to elevate its standard of care and instill confidence in the community it serves.”

Donna Sollenberger, executive vice president and chief executive officer of the UTMB Health System, said that with the commission’s advanced certification, “we are making a significant investment in quality on a day-to-day basis. Joint Commission accreditation provides us a framework to take our organization to the next level and helps create a culture of excellence.”

According to Dr. Gulshan Sharma, director of UTMB’s division of pulmonary critical care and sleep medicine, “Achieving Joint Commission advanced certification in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, for our organization, is a major step toward maintaining excellence and continually improving the care we provide. This was truly a team effort and we should all be proud of this outstanding achievement.”

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 20,500 health care organizations and programs in the U.S., including hospitals and health care organizations. The commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care.