June 8, 2004

Contact: Jennifer Riordan, 272-0261 office, 220-0702 cell

Bridgid Isworth, 272-3690 office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

After thorough assessments from two independent organizations, the University of New Mexico Hospital, a component of the Health Sciences Center, has received high scores from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO), and was re-verified as a Level I Trauma Center.

These achievements recognize UNM Hospital and Health Sciences Center's dedication to providing optimal care to its patients.

JCAHO awarded UNMH a score of 92, following an intense, nine-day review conducted by seven surveyors who closely examined the Health Sciences Center programs. The Milagro/ASAP Center achieved a score of 99, Behavioral Health, 97, and Hospice, 92.

"Once again UNM Hospital has proved that it is a premier health care provider," UNMH CEO Steve McKernan said. "These results are a reflection of the hospital's commitment to excellence, day in and day out."

Founded in 1951, the JCAHO provides health care accreditation and related services that promote performance improvement in health care organizations.

McKernan was also pleased with the Level I re-verification of UNMH's Trauma Center: "UNM Hospital is proud to maintain and provide New Mexico with the state's only Level I Trauma Center," he said.

All verified trauma centers must meet the essential criteria that ensure trauma care capability and institutional performance, as outlined by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Committee on Trauma (COT).

Established by the ACS in 1987, the verification program promotes the development of trauma centers in providing not only the resources necessary for trauma care, but also the entire spectrum of care to address the needs of all patients. This spectrum covers the pre-hospital phase through the rehabilitation process.

The COT's verification program does not assign a particular trauma center with a level of verification; instead, the establishment and designation of trauma centers is the function of local, regional or state health care systems agencies.

There are four separate categories of verification in the COT's program (Level I, II, III, and IV), each with specific criteria that must be met by the facility seeking that level of verification. The level verification survey takes place upon request of the hospital.

UNMH and the Health Sciences Center's achievement of top marks from the JCAHO and recent re-verification of its Level I Trauma Center demonstrate the organization's commitment to achieving high quality care for patients and residents of the Albuquerque and New Mexico community.