CMMC maintains accreditation after addressing infection concerns

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LEWISTON — Central Maine Medical Center will keep its accreditation after addressing problems found with its infection control policies and procedures

Representatives from The Joint Commission, CMMC’s accrediting agency, revisited the hospital in January and February, several weeks after a regular visit found problems. Hospital leaders said The Joint Commission was satisfied with CMMC’s new infection control protocols and other changes. 

“The surveyor said that she was very impressed with how much work we’d done,” CMMC President David Tupponce said.

CMMC’s accreditation came under scrutiny in December after a routine accreditation survey found problems. The Joint Commission gave CMMC 30 days to improve and told the hospital it needed to work on three key areas:

• The processes involved in cleaning high-risk equipment;

• Using best practices to maintain a safe environment for patients and staff before, during and after care; and

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• Encouraging and empowering staff to identify and correct situations that could put patients or staff in danger.

The Joint Commission’s concerns came the same month Medicare announced it was penalizing CMMC for high rates of infections and patient injuries. It was the second year in a row CMMC was penalized.

At the time, a hospital spokesman said CMMC was working on its issues and fully expected to maintain its accreditation.

Hospital officials said this week that CMMC has made a number of changes, such as providing only individually wrapped eating utensils rather than unwrapped ones, and labeling which sinks are reserved for washing hands and which are reserved for washing medical instruments.

The hospital has also hired a director of infection prevention. 

Because The Joint Commission routinely makes random, unannounced visits to ensure hospitals continue to meet its standards, CMMC officials expect additional site visits in the future.

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Central Maine Medical Center (Sun Journal file photo)

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