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Joint Commission awards Gold Seal of Approval for hip, knee & spine surgery

St. Mary’s Health Care System today announced that St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens has again earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® certification for total hip replacement, total knee replacement, and spine surgery.

Disease-specific certification is for Joint Commission-accredited hospitals, critical access hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers seeking to elevate the quality, consistency and safety of their services and patient care.

St. Mary’s underwent a rigorous onsite review earlier this year. Joint Commission experts evaluated compliance with advanced disease-specific care standards and requirements for total hip and knee replacements and spine surgery, including surgical consultation and pre-operative, intraoperative and post-surgical follow-up care. Joint Commission certification is valid for two years.

“Achieving certification in these three procedures recognizes St. Mary’s commitment to provide care in a safe and efficient manner for patients,” said Patrick Phelan, executive director, Hospital Business Development, The Joint Commission. “These certifications will help St. Mary’s better provide coordinated and comprehensive care to patients undergoing total hip replacement, total knee replacement, or spine surgery.”

“St. Mary’s is pleased to receive continuing certification from The Joint Commission, the premier accrediting body in the nation for health care quality improvement,” said Montez Carter, President and CEO of St. Mary’s Health Care System. “The standards they set and best practices they advocate are tremendous assets to our continuing process of improving patient safety and quality of care. The trust and partnerships we have developed with our physicians have significantly contributed to our outstanding success.”

St. Mary’s first earned certification in knee replacement in 2008, followed by spine surgery in 2011 and hip replacement in 2015. St. Mary’s maintains Joint Commission specialty certification in seven specialties: advanced primary stroke center, advanced inpatient diabetes, heart failure, COPD, total knee replacement, total hip replacement, and spine surgery.

The Joint Commission developed knee, hip and spine certification programs in response to the growing number of patients undergoing these procedures, as well as the increased focus on clinical evidence-based patient care as it relates to pain management, quality of life issues, functional limitation in mobility and the return to normal daily activities.

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The Joint Commission

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at

St. Mary’s Health Care System

St. Mary’s Health Care System is a faith-based, not-for-profit health care ministry whose mission is to be a compassionate and transforming healing presence in the communities it serves. Part of Trinity Health, St. Mary’s includes hospitals in Athens, Lavonia and Greensboro, as well as physician practices, a retirement community, outpatient care facilities, graduate medical education, and a region-wide home health care/hospice service. St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens is a certified chest pain center, a gold-plus hospital for stroke care, and was named Georgia’s Large Hospital of the Year in 2006, 2010, 2015 and 2018 For more information, visit St. Mary’s website at