Adena awarded shoulder, spine certifications from The Joint Commission


CHILLICOTHE, OH – When Ruth Svarda came to the Adena Orthopedic and Spine Institute to consult with shoulder specialist Gus Barrazueta, MD, she was a far cry from the quality of life she wanted to be living.

“I couldn’t sleep at night and the pain just kept getting worse, even trying to brush my hair was difficult because I couldn’t lift my arm that high,” she said. “Making the bed was difficult, washing dishes was difficult because of my shoulder, putting on clothes was difficult.”

Ruth’s pain had started while in the process of moving to Pike County from Columbus. She had tried physical therapy and cortisone injections, but they weren’t providing the level of relief she needed. Then, she consulted with Dr. Barrazueta, who performed a reverse total shoulder and rotator cuff repair.

She couldn’t be happier with the results.

“I can wash dishes without having to scream,” she said. “I can take care of the cabin where I live and my animals, so I’m back to where I was before. Everyone I interacted with was extremely helpful, from the nurses to Dr. Barrazueta coming to talk with me and tell me I was ready to go home and going through what he wanted me to do. That was very good, and you just don’t get that in some of the bigger hospitals where I’ve had multiple surgeries.”

That level of care and quality outcomes also caught the attention of The Joint Commission, an independent, not-for-profit organization that evaluates health care organizations for accreditation and certification based on standards of safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. To which, The Joint Commission officially awarded certifications to Adena for its shoulder and spine programs.

“To us, our patients, and the physicians here, what these certifications mean is we want to be the best and want to make sure we’re following best practices,” said Ashleigh Flannery, pain and spine clinic manager. “We’re putting ourselves under a microscope for The Joint Commission to come in and say, ‘We see the great work that you’ve done and we see that you’re putting your patients first and we see that you recognize that in order to try to be perfect, these are the things you need to work on.’ So it shows our patients that we are taking the time to work on these things and do anything extra that is needed to ensure they are getting the best care possible.”

The process to earning a certification from The Joint Commission is a lengthy and arduous one that begins with creation of a multi-disciplinary team to collect and analyze data and identify areas where extra attention needs to be paid and opportunities for improvement exist. Once those opportunities are addressed, an application and review process begins and representatives of The Joint Commission complete a comprehensive on-site review before making a recommendation on certification.

Flannery said involvement in the improvement process itself when pursuing a certification is one of the many positives to come out of that pursuit.

Josie Courts, manager of clinic staff and operations for orthopedic surgery, said the commitment of Adena’s physicians, advanced practice providers, and other caregivers to the process plays a big role in earning a certification.

“I would say our staff is highly engaged in the program and the certification and understanding that these are processes that are put in place to ensure our patients have a quality and safe experience with us,” she said.

One of those processes involves having a nurse navigator available who initially meets with the patient to establish where the patient’s pain scale is at and set post-surgery goals. In addition to tracking progress on those goals, the nurse navigator also serves as a liaison for the patient’s care coordination from the time the person is identified as a candidate for surgery all the way through until about 90 days following the procedure. The navigator helps schedule any clearances that may be needed, visits with the patient while on the Adena campus, provides education, coordinates post-operative rehabilitation schedules, and acts as the patient’s main point of contact.

That patient-centric formula, coupled with the quality of the physicians performing the procedures, is working, as the recent certifications can attest.

The new certifications join others awarded by The Joint Commission to the Adena Orthopedic and Spine Institute for the quality of its primary stroke and hip and knee programs. Adena Regional Medical Center also holds certifications in perinatal care and sepsis care, while Adena Greenfield Medical Center and Adena Pike Medical Center have each earned acute stroke ready certifications.

To learn more about all of the care options available through the Adena Orthopedic and Spine Institute, visit

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