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New Jersey
Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center Receives Significant Depression Recertification
Story Number is : 072717116
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Hackensack Meridian Health

The Joint Commission recently recertified Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center’s depression program in Disease-Specific Care for another two years. Hackensack University Medical Center is one of only two depression programs in the United States and the only depression program in New Jersey to receive this designation.

"As one of only two hospitals in the nation with a depression certification from the Joint Commission, Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center is leading the way in addressing and treating depression," said Ihor S. Sawczuk, M.D., president of Hackensack University Medical Center.“Hackensack University Medical Center’s integrated approach is a national model that will revolutionize the way we treat and help patient’s manage depression by emphasizing wellness rather than medication. This national distinction confirms that the care team at Hackensack University Medical Center is a pioneer in their field, committed to transforming lives and reshaping the way we address mental health in this country.”

Hackensack University Medical Center first received the Joint Commission’s depression certification in 2008. A representative from the Joint Commission recertifies depression programs every two years through an extensive review process that consists of an onsite visit. The Joint Commission examines broad criteria to determine if the depression program is meeting the commission’s rigorous standards including examining: patient records, indicators, medical data, team member interviews, team member credentials and five cases that have a depression diagnosis.

“Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center is proud to receive the Joint Commission’s depression recertification for another two years,” said Diego Coira, M.D., FAPA, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, medical director of Integrative Medicine and co-director of the Debra Simon Center for Integrative Behavioral Health and Wellness at Hackensack University Medical Center. “Hackensack University Medical Center embraces a unique integrative approach to psychiatry that incorporates wellness, nutrition, therapy, alternative medicine, music therapy, art and yoga in our programs. This integrative approach enables us to use only a minimal amount of medication for our patients and has become a national model that will help transform behavioral health standards.”

Hackensack University Medical Center has a nationally recognized behavioral health program that uses an integrated care model to treat depression. Hackensack University Medical Center the only psychiatric department in New Jersey and one of a few programs in the country that has established an integrated care model. The department has been invited to present this model in national and international conferences. This integrated model of care was established in 2004 under the leadership of Midge Grady, MSN, RN, APN-C, administrative director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, administrative director of Integrative Medicine and co-director of the Debra Simon Center for Integrative Behavioral Health and Wellness and Dr. Coira. In addition, Hackensack University Medical Center is one of the only hospitals in the State of New Jersey that prioritizes mental health by ensuring a psychiatrist is available to patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Hackensack University Medical Center developed a unique, forward-thinking Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine that utilizes integrated modalities like nutrition, exercise and wellness to reduce the excessive use of medication to treat depression. The typical patient suffering from depression comes to Hackensack University Medical Center on an average of 4.5 medications, but once they leave are only taking, on average, 1.5 medications.

Hackensack Meridian Health is incorporating the best practices that contributed to receiving this national distinction and is in the process of expanding services, capabilities, resources and programs across its network. The health system is continuing to innovate and increase access to care for patients and families of all ages.




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