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SEATTLE - (July 22, 2009) — The Digestive Disease Institute at Virginia Mason endoscopy unit was recognized by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) for promoting quality in endoscopy. Virginia Mason's program was one of 68 recognized nationally this year and is the first unit recognized in Seattle. The ASGE Endoscopy Unit Recognition Program honors endoscopy units that follow the ASGE guidelines on privileging, quality assurance, endoscopy reprocessing and CDC infection-control guidelines. To date, 124 endoscopy units have been recognized by ASGE.

An important component of the program is an educational course that thoroughly reviews related guidelines. Honorees attended either the "Improving Quality and Safety in Your Endoscopy Unit" course held in Oak Brook, Ill., in October 2008, or the course held in Las Vegas in February 2009.

Upon completion of the program, units receive an ASGE "Certificate of Recognition" for promoting quality in endoscopy. The recognition symbolizes that the endoscopy unit is dedicated to delivering high-quality endoscopic care and has received specialized training around these principles.

To successfully complete the program and receive a Certificate of Recognition, a center must show proof of successful and current accreditation by a recognized accrediting body (AAAHC, Joint Commission); sign an attestation affirming that certain ASGE and CDC guidelines are adopted as minimum requirements of the unit policy; and have a representative of the unit complete the ASGE Recognition Course, "Improving Quality and Safety In Your Endoscopy Unit." The Certificate of Recognition award is granted for a three-year renewable period.

An endoscopy is a procedure using an endoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a light and a lens on the end) to look into the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, small intestine, colon or rectum to diagnose or treat a condition. There are many types of GI endoscopies, such as colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) and EUS (endoscopic ultrasound).

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a non-profit comprehensive regional health-care system in Seattle that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 440 physicians with a 336-bed acute-care hospital. Virginia Mason operates a network of clinics throughout the Puget Sound area; manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and Chronic Care Management program for people living with HIV and AIDS; and operates Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, internationally recognized in autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason is known for applying manufacturing principles to health care to improve quality and patient safety.

For Media Inquiries, Contact:
Alisha Mark, (206) 341-1509

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