St. Joseph Hospital’s burn unit loses verification from ABA

Local News

St. Joseph Hospital has lost verification of its burn unit from the American Burn Association.

The Journal Gazette first reported the status change. St. Joseph Hospital is operated by the Lutheran Health Network.

LHN Spokesman Geoff Thomas told NewsChannel 15 Lutheran is still committed to treating burn patients throughout its network. 

The Journal Gazette reported that hospital CEO Karen Fordham wrote a letter to employees that stated the ABA did not provide enough time for the hospital to address possible solutions. The hospital will continue to operate the burn unit without verification. Fordham said around half of burn units in the U.S. operate without verification. 

In September, NewsChannel 15 reported that Lutheran Health Network was looking to build a new hospital in downtown Fort Wayne. At the time, hospital officials didn’t say if the new hospital would include a burn unit. Thomas said last spring the ABA visited the St. Joe  burn unit to begin the re-verification process. Thomas said the ABA had identified areas that could be improved and that verification was pending another review. 

Thomas released a statement to NewsChannel 15 Sunday after the recent verification loss:

We are committed to providing burn services within our network going forward and do not expect any impact on our patients as a result of this development. Verification is a voluntary process and not a requirement to provide services. About half of the nation’s burn centers have ABA verification and the others do not. 

During its first 25 years of operation, the burn center at St. Joe established itself as the region’s provider of this specialized care without ABA verification. Regardless of our verification status today, Lutheran Health Network continues to provide the most advanced burn care available in northern Indiana and we are working to enhance these important services.  

As a network, our vision has always to been to offer locally highly specialized services to our community and the surrounding areas. 

For the patients whose recovery also includes regular visits to our outpatient burn and wound clinic, a major aspect of our holistic approach to healing is keeping them close to home.  Allowing family, friends and other members of a patient’s support system to more easily fulfill these vital roles without the burdens associated with major travel is best for the patient and a significant point of emphasis for LHN.

Several  burn center nursing positions have been posted to the Lutheran Health website. You can find details here:

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