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Great Plains Health awarded The Joint Commission Gold Seal Core Certification for Hip and Knee Replacement

Friday, February 8, 2019


February 7, 2019

CONTACT: Fiona Libsack, FACHE, chief development officer 308.660.6658


Great Plains Health awarded The Joint Commission Gold Seal Core Certification for Hip and Knee Replacement

NORTH PLATTE, NEB. – Great Plains Health announced today that it has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Hip and Knee Replacement Core Certification. This achievement distinguishes Great Plains Health as one of only three healthcare organizations in Nebraska to achieve core certification for total hip and knee replacement from The Joint Commission. The designation comes on the heels of the GPHealth orthopaedic program earning the Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Distinction designation for hip and knee replacement.

“We have always had a good orthopaedic program in North Platte, but for the last few years, our orthopaedic surgeons and their multidisciplinary orthopaedic team have been laser-focused on improving outcomes and patient experience,” said Fiona Libsack, Great Plains Health chief development officer. “The designation is evidence that our hard work is paying off. We are truly proud of everyone on the team who helps ensure that patients consistently receive the highest standard in joint replacement care at every phase of their patient journey.”

On February 5 - 6, The Joint Commission conducted a rigorous on-site review of the Great Plains Health orthopaedic service line, carefully reviewing all aspects of the program and its continuum of care for joint replacement patients, from the orthopedic surgeon consultation to pre-surgery education and preparation, surgery, hospital recovery, pain management, physical therapy, discharge, home health and post-surgery follow-up. In awarding this certification, The Joint Commission evaluated and addressed three core areas:

  • Compliance with consensus-based national standards;
  • Effective use of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines to manage and optimize care; and
  • An organized approach to performance measurement and improvement activities.

“As our program grows to become the region’s destination for joint replacement, we are focused on delivering optimal outcomes for the patients we serve throughout a three-state, thirty-eight-county area,” said Mel McNea, Great Plains Health chief executive officer.

McNea pointed to the success that the joint replacement program has achieved over the past three years as evidence of a program that is bringing quality and access in orthopaedic care to the region. He referenced:

  • High-trending patient satisfaction scores;
  • Decrease in complication rates from 4.4% in 2015 to .06% in 2018;
  • Significant growth in each direction of the primary and secondary markets;
  • Decreased average length of hospital stays from 3.47 days to 1.7 days and an increased number of discharges to home, an effort that has proven to be safer for patients; and
  • Decreased readmission rate, from 7.47% in 2015 to 5% in 2018.

The Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval as a core certified hip and knee replacement program is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient care.

“Certification is a voluntary process that we undergo in order to gauge where our programs compare on a national level and identify any improvements we can make to strengthen our service,” said McNea. “Our orthopaedic program ranks very well and, from first consultation to home, our team is committed to getting patients through their joint replacement journey and back to doing the things they love as quickly and safely as possible.”


About Great Plains Health

Based in North Platte, Nebraska, Great Plains Health is a fully accredited, 116-bed acute care regional medical center serving western and central Nebraska, northern Kansas and southern South Dakota. With nearly 100 physicians representing nearly 30 medical specialties, the Great Plains Health system offers advanced health care, including heart and vascular, cancer and orthopaedic surgery services. The system employs approximately 1,100 people and serves a geographic area spanning approximately 67,882 square miles. For more information, visit

The Joint Commission
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public in coordination 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.