In your article concerning my appointment as chief executive of Memorial Hospital of Salem County in Salem, N.J. (June 16, p. 19), you were correct in stating that my current employer, Roseland Community Hospital in Chicago, was on the "watch list" of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations following a fire set by a patient. However, you were incorrect in reporting Roseland was on "probation" with the JCAHO.
The watch list does not affect a facility's accreditation status. Rather, it is a process during which the JCAHO requires a "root cause analysis" to be done regarding a sentinel event. Once that analysis is completed to the JCAHO's satisfaction-as was ours-the watch-list status is removed, with no further action. Being on the watch list could lead to a loss of accreditation, but that did not happen at Roseland. Therefore, our full accreditation could not have been restored, as was reported in your article, because it was never taken away.
Further, I find the parallels you tried to draw between J. Michael Galvin, former CEO of Memorial Hospital, and me to be contorted logic at best. I fail to see how a tragic fire set by a patient at Roseland compared with the allegation that Galvin misused $2.1 million in Memorial's funds. It is true that both Galvin and I received the American College of Healthcare Executives' award for Young Healthcare Executive of the Year, 12 years apart. However, a more fair comparison would have been to relate my performance to any of the other past recipients, none of whom to my knowledge has been accused of actions involving massive abuse of their office.
Denise R. Williams
CEO-designate, Memorial Hospital of Salem County