Four of five hospitals in the Lovelace Sandia Health System, owned by Ardent Health Services, were jointly handed a preliminary denial of accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Albuquerque Regional Medical Center, West Mesa Medical Center, Women's Hospital and the Rehabilitation Hospital of New Mexico all were denied preliminary accreditation.
System officials plan to appeal the denial and believe that in rating the hospitals together the JCAHO didn't follow its procedures, according to a statement from the system. The JCAHO told the system that the hospitals failed 17 of 250 standards, according to hospital spokesman Arturo Delgado.
The fifth hospital in the Lovelace Sandia system, Lovelace Medical Center, was accredited by the JCAHO in January.
In an interview, system Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Norm Becker said the JCAHO should have recognized that the hospitals did not qualify for a group accreditation before it began. "JCAHO should have stopped it right there," he said. For example, all of the hospitals have separate leadership and report separately to the division head, he said.
The hospitals still share medical staff, but that will end soon, Becker said. He said the hospitals are still fully accredited while the system appeals the decision and system executives are confident that the JCAHO would offer accreditation if it were reviewed again.
Hospital officials said the facilities operated as one under their previous owner but no longer do so, making a joint accreditation inappropriate.