California hospital kept operating rooms open after Joint Commission warning

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

October 22, 2014

A California hospital continued to allow surgeries in its operating rooms earlier this year even after an inspection from the Joint Commission found flaws in its heating and ventilation system, a move which generated a preliminary denial of accreditation two weeks ago, according to a report in the Orange County Register.

According to the report, the Joint Commission’s sent a letter of recommendation to deny accreditation to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, California about the high humidity levels in the hospital’s operating rooms, which can cause the growth of bacteria and infection. As a result, the hospital has agreed to immediately cancel all elective surgeries and temporarily close its 14 operating rooms.

According to the report, the hospital found out about the humidity problem during an inspection last February and continued with surgeries with a temporary HVAC system in place while the hospital budgeted for a $1.5-million system yet to be installed. In the meantime, at least four patients came down with infections that are being blamed on the high humidity levels, leading to the Joint Commission’s intervention.