Newswise — Rockville Centre, NY – Each year, at least 1.7 million adults in the U.S. develop sepsis, the body’s extreme response to an infection, and nearly 270,000 Americans die as a result of sepsis each year*. Today, Catholic Health Services's  Mercy Medical Center became the first hospital in New York State to receive The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Sepsis Care. The Gold Seal reflects Mercy’s commitment and dedication to providing the highest standard in sepsis care.

“The Gold Seal is a powerful validation of the quality that reflects Mercy’s ongoing commitment to providing optimal, safe and effective patient care,” said Mercy Medical Center President Peter Scaminaci. “Sepsis is a medical emergency that requires immediate medical treatment, and I am so proud that Mercy is at the forefront of addressing this serious condition.”

Sepsis happens when an infection you already have — in your skin, lungs, urinary tract or somewhere else — triggers a chain reaction throughout your body. Without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death. And, in most cases, sepsis occurs even before the patient is admitted to the hospital, underscoring the importance of sepsis education and awareness.

“Mercy recognizes the danger that sepsis presents from an overall public health standpoint and has been working on implementing a robust sepsis care program for the last several years," said Mercy Medical Center’s Vice President of Performance Improvement Catherine Magone RN, MPA, CPHQ. “We have integrated evidence-based clinical practices into the medical management of sepsis and reduced risk in the community by educating our clinical staff and the public about the illness.” 

In 2014 Mercy began evaluating ways to improve the recognition, treatments and education of sepsis patients. The hospital formed a sepsis committee, made up of medical staff quality managers, emergency, pharmacy, lab and nursing from various departments. Together, they developed a strategic plan for improvement. The team evaluated timely nursing assessment, early identification of barriers, improving caregiver education and the addressing of medical record challenges.

The sepsis committee took data from the evaluations and proactively developed a Mercy Sepsis Program that implemented an intensive and multidisciplinary education program for clinical staff and their patients. The plan evaluated the most at-risk patients based on extensive data review, customizing the existing sepsis protocol and outlining opportunities on how to reduce the risk of sepsis. Additionally, the plan highlighted the importance of patient engagement and it encouraged and empowered patients to think “could this be sepsis” even before being admitted to the hospital. 

The Mercy Sepsis Program required clinical staff to participate in annual multilevel sepsis education. The program also:

  • Implemented sepsis rapid response calls;
  • Designed a nurse’s sepsis worksheet to improve communication from unit-to-unit and nurse-to-nurse; 
  • Used electronic medical records to support the sepsis bundle with early warnings built-in and reminders;
  • Created an electronic sepsis screen where every patient, every day on every shift is screened for sepsis. 

“Sepsis is a medical emergency that requires rapid recognition and treatment to improve patient survival. Lives can be saved by using existing and proven sepsis protocols; therefore, Mercy remains committed to high quality sepsis care for our patients with the goal of decreasing sepsis mortality while increasing sepsis education and patient engagement,” said Mercy Medical Center’s Associate Director of Emergency Medicine and Co-chair of Sepsis Committee Kurt Dischner, MD.

Mercy underwent a rigorous on-site review in December 2018. Joint Commission experts evaluated compliance with national disease-specific care standards as well as with sepsis-specific requirements. Clinical practice guidelines and performance measures were also assessed. 

Established in 2002 and awarded for a two-year period, The Joint Commission’s Disease-Specific Care Certification evaluates clinical programs across the continuum of care and addresses three core areas:

  • Compliance with consensus-based national standards;
  • Effective use of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines to manage and optimize care; and
  • An organized approach to performance measurement and improvement activities.

"Mercy Medical Center has thoroughly demonstrated a high level of care for patients with sepsis,” said Patrick Phelan, executive director, Hospital Business Development, The Joint Commission. “We commend Mercy for becoming a leader in sepsis care, potentially providing a higher standard of service for sepsis patients in its community.”

Mercy also holds an advance certification from The Joint Commission for primary stroke care.

For more information, visit or call 516-62-MERCY (63729).

*According to the CDC.


About Mercy Medical Center

Celebrating more than 100 years, Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, a member of Catholic Health Services, is designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology, as well as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence® by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Mercy is also the recipient of an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons and consecutive Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Awards from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. And, in recognition of the value it places on superior nursing care, Mercy has the Pathway to Excellence® designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Mercy provides comprehensive medical and surgical care and is a leader in minimally-invasive surgery, joint-replacement, orthopedic surgery, sports medicine, spine and neurosurgery, in-patient acute rehabilitation, diagnostic and interventional radiology, maternity and newborn services and women’s health. Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence® is a registered trademark of the American Society For Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

The Joint Commission
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at