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Nuclear medicine lab at HMC gets national accreditation

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

Henry Medical Center in Stockbridge has received accreditation by the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Nuclear Medicine Laboratories (ICANL), an achievement recognizing high standards of patient care in nuclear medicine and nuclear cardiology.

"It is really an achievement," said Joe Fernandes, director of Nuclear Medicine at Henry Medical Center.

Fernandes noted, through nuclear medicine tests, physicians are able to diagnose or rule out major diseases in earlier stages, rather than other available medical procedures. Nuclear cardiology testing procedures also enable physicians to detect the presence of cardiovascular disease and possibly discover information about the occurrence of future heart attacks.

HMC's nuclear medicine director said the hospital had previously received its required three-year accreditation through the non-profit accrediting firm, known as The Joint Commission, but voluntarily chose to pursue additional accreditation through ICANL.

ICANL is a non-profit accreditation organization, whose goal is to help maintain programs which balance the changing needs of both the Nuclear Medicine community and the general public by influencing the quality of patient care provided.

Henry Medical Center's Nuclear Medicine Laboratory received the ICANL accreditation in nuclear medicine and nuclear cardiology back in April, said Fernandes, adding that the hospital is among only a few hospitals in Georgia to be ICANL accredited.

The accreditation considers the hospital's patient care as well as its provision for quality diagnostic testing in nuclear medicine and nuclear cardiology. He added that Piedmont Heart Institute in Atlanta, Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, and Saint Joseph's Hospital of Atlanta were all accredited through ICANL.

"It took us almost two years to get it done, because we wanted to be sure that our citizens get the best care," Fernandes said. "We wanted to take the hospital to the next level."

Fernandes said the hospital's Nuclear Medicine Department has matured well in technology over the past three decades, since its inception.

"When I came in, there was one man and one camera," he said. He headed the department when the hospital opened in 1979, and has helped expand the department to include five different gamma cameras for nuclear medicine and nuclear cardiology testing.

"The Nuclear Medicine Department at Henry Medical Center chose to apply for the accreditation to demonstrate its commitment to quality patient care and diagnostic evaluations," Fernandes said. "This is not a mandatory accreditation which means we chose to undergo a very through and rigorous examination to receive this recognition."