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BUFFALO, NEW YORK; January 31, 2005 - Erie County Medical Center (ECMC) is pleased to announce that the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has awarded ECMC with the Joint Commission's Gold Seal of ApprovalTM for meeting and exceeding the national standards for health care quality and safety. The award of accreditation to Erie County Medical Center is for a three-year period ending in August of 2007.

"We sought accreditation for our organization because we want to demonstrate our commitment to patient safety and quality care," says Michael A. Young, M.H.A., F.A.C.H.E., Chief Executive Officer of ECMC. "The Joint Commission accreditation is recognition of ECMC's excellence in providing the highest level of care to the Western New York community."

"Joint Commission accreditation means the Erie County Medical Center complies with the highest national standards for safety and quality of care," said Karen Maricle, R.N., M.S., Interim Chief Operating Officer for ECMC, who coordinated the accreditation visit.

"The national standards are intended to stimulate continuous, systematic and organization-wide improvement in an organization's performance and the outcomes of care," says Kurt Patton, executive director, Hospital Accreditation Program, Joint Commission. "The community should be proud that Erie County Medical Center is focusing on the most challenging goal-to continuously raise quality and safety to higher levels."

Founded in 1951, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations seeks to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including 7,800 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 7,300 other health care organizations that provide long term care, assisted living, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. The Joint Commission also accredits health plans, integrated delivery networks, and other managed care entities. An independent, not-for-profit organization, the Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. This award excludes skilled nursing and nursing home services.

The Erie County Medical Center is an advanced academic medical center with 550 inpatient beds, on- and off-campus health centers, and over 40 outpatient specialty care clinics. The medical center, ranked among the nation's 100 top hospitals for cardiac and intensive care, serves as the regional center for trauma, burn, rehabilitation, and a major teaching facility for the State University of New York at Buffalo. ECMC is dedicated to being the medical center of choice through excellence in patient care and customer service.

NEWS CONTACT: Joe Cirillo at 716-898-4300

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1/31/2005

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