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Memorial’s Lung Volume Reduction Surgery Program Receives Recertification from Joint Commission



Memorial Medical Center received a two-year recertification for its lung volume reduction surgery program, becoming one of only four healthcare facilities in the nation – and the only one in Illinois – to earn the achievement from the Joint Commission.

Lung volume reduction surgery offers an improved quality of life for patients with severe emphysema who are eligible for the surgery. Through this procedure, 20 percent to 30 percent of the lung area damaged by emphysema can be removed to allow the remaining tissue and surrounding muscles to work more efficiently, making breathing easier.

“There’s no cure for emphysema, but we can improve the lives of those patients who meet the criteria for this procedure,” according to Dr. Stephen Hazelrigg, a cardiothoracic surgeon with Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, who has performed lung volume reduction surgery in Springfield for more than 450 patients. “For emphysema patients who qualify as candidates, this procedure can prolong their lives.”

A progressively destructive lung disease in which the walls between the tiny air sacs in the lungs are damaged, emphysema afflicts an estimated 3 million Americans and claims nearly 14,000 lives annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The lungs lose their elasticity, and exhaling becomes increasingly difficult. Air remains trapped in the overinflated lungs. The diseased tissue compresses healthy lung tissue and flattens the diaphragm so it cannot assist with breathing.

To receive Joint Commission certification, a disease-management program undergoes an extensive onsite evaluation by a Joint Commission reviewer. Memorial first earned certification for its lung volume reduction surgery program in December 2006 and received its first recertification approximately two years after that.

The Joint Commission conducts reviews approximately every two years of certified programs. Successful participation in these reviews is a requirement of continued certification. The program is evaluated against Joint Commission standards through a rigorous assessment of the program’s processes and outcomes, the program’s ability to evaluate and improve care within its own organization, and interviews with patients and staff.

An independent, nonprofit organization, the Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 18,000 healthcare organizations and programs and provides certification of more than 1,700 disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers and health care staffing services.

The Joint Commission’s disease-specific care certification program, launched in 2002, is designed to evaluate clinical programs across the continuum of care.

Memorial Medical Center, 701 N. First St., is a nonprofit, community-based hospital in the Mid-Illinois Medical District at Springfield.