Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center Commits to ACS Geriatric Surgery Verification   

Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center Commits to ACS Geriatric Surgery Verification

December 15, 2022

Recognition is part of Hackensack Meridian Health’s leadership in the care of New Jersey’s geriatric population

Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center has attained Commitment Level status in the American College of Surgeons Geriatric Surgery Verification (GSV) Program in preparation for applying for GSV Level 1 status in 2022.

Created in July 2019, the Geriatric Surgery Verification program is a quality improvement program that provides a framework for the delivery of optimal care and achievement of the best outcomes for geriatric patients undergoing surgery. Hackensack University Medical Center is among only 17 hospitals in the nation to participate in this initiative.

“As a verified geriatric surgery facility, the surgical care team at Hackensack University Medical Center is implementing the program standards to continuously make the most effective use of surgical care for a vulnerable aging population,” said Lisa Tank, M.D., FACP, CMD, Chief Medical Officer at Hackensack University Medical Center who is board-certified in geriatrics, and internal medicine. “By assessing preoperative risks, we are able to provide anticipatory care that is tailored to older adults to help them meet their individual goals of surgery as well as go home faster.”

"Older patients account for 40 percent of hospital inpatient surgical procedures and 30 percent of outpatient procedures. With the graying of the population, those numbers will continue to grow," explained Manisha Parulekar, MD, FACP, CMD, chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center. "The number of older adults is rising by 55 percent between 2010 and 2050 alone, and older patients often have multiple health issues. It is imperative that we have a system in place to ensure that geriatric patients who are having surgery receive the highest quality and safest care possible."

Hackensack University Medical Center started the journey for this verification in January 2021 with Electronic Health Record optimization and the process of fine tuning EHR to improve clinical productivity, efficiency and create protocols establishing adequate resources. The Medical Center had its first interdisciplinary patient conference and recruitment of patients for this program in November 2022 with two patients in the program having already undergone surgery. Through the verification program, the medical center is fortifying its geriatric surgical care systems to achieve surgical excellence utilizing:

  • Geriatric Vulnerability Screens
  • Management Plan for Vulnerabilities
  • Interdisciplinary Input for High Risk Elective Surgery
  • Process for Flagging and Reviewing High Risk Medications
  • Geriatric Interdisciplinary Management for High Risk Patients

The Geriatric Surgery Verification Quality Improvement Program’s anticipated outcomes include:

  • Operationalization of evidence-based standards
  • Strengthened interdisciplinary care and communication
  • Improved implementation of protocolized care
  • Improved clinical outcomes
  • Enhanced patient satisfaction
  • Better results in any payment/incentive models

To achieve GSV Level 1 – Comprehensive Excellence status, the GSV Program standards must be verified across one or more surgical specialties and reach 50 percent or more of the hospital’s total population of eligible surgical patients age 75 years or older.

Additionally, Hackensack University Medical Center has been accredited through the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) as Geriatric (appropriate) Emergency Departments with ACEP’s Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation program (GEDA.) The accreditation is the first of its kind and is part of an effort to improve the quality and standards of emergency care provided to the nation’s older patients. This includes early identification of patients over 65 years old who are at risk for delirium, display functional and cognitive decline or have fallen.

“With older Americans being one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country, I’m proud that Hackensack University Medical Center has been working to create a new standard of care for this population,” said Mark Sparta, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive of Hackensack University Medical Center and president of Hackensack Meridian Health’s Northern Region.

For more information or for an interview, contact Mary.McGeever@hmhn.org.

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