Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center Commits to ACS Geriatric Surgery Verification

Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center has attained Commitment Level status in the American College of Surgeons Geriatric Surgery Verification (GSV) Program in preparation for applying for GSV Level 1 status in 2022.  

Created in July 2019, the Geriatric Surgery Verification program is a quality improvement program that provides a framework for the delivery of optimal care and achievement of the best outcomes for geriatric patients undergoing surgery. Hackensack University Medical Center is among only 17 hospitals in the nation to participate in this initiative.  

“As a verified geriatric surgery facility, the surgical care team at Hackensack University Medical Center is implementing the program standards to continuously make the most effective use of surgical care for a vulnerable aging population,” said Lisa Tank, M.D., FACP, CMD, Chief Medical Officer at Hackensack University Medical Center who is board-certified in geriatrics, and internal medicine. “By assessing preoperative risks, we are able to provide anticipatory care that is tailored to older adults to help them meet their individual goals of surgery as well as go home faster.”  

“Older patients account for 40 percent of hospital inpatient surgical procedures and 30 percent of outpatient procedures. With the graying of the population, those numbers will continue to grow,” explained Manisha Parulekar, MD, FACP, CMD, chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center. “The number of older adults is rising by 55 percent between 2010 and 2050 alone, and older patients often have multiple health issues. It is imperative that we have a system in place to ensure that geriatric patients who are having surgery receive the highest quality and safest care possible.”

Hackensack University Medical Center started the journey for this verification in January 2021 with Electronic Health Record optimization and the process of fine tuning EHR to improve clinical productivity, efficiency and create protocols establishing adequate resources. The Medical Center had its first interdisciplinary patient conference and recruitment of patients for this program in November 2022 with two patients in the program having already undergone surgery. Through the verification program, the medical center is fortifying its geriatric surgical care systems to achieve surgical excellence utilizing:

  • Geriatric Vulnerability Screens 
  • Management Plan for Vulnerabilities 
  • Interdisciplinary Input for High Risk Elective Surgery 
  • Process for Flagging and Reviewing High Risk Medications 
  • Geriatric Interdisciplinary Management for High Risk Patients  

The Geriatric Surgery Verification Quality Improvement Program’s anticipated outcomes include:  

  • Operationalization of evidence-based standards 
  • Strengthened interdisciplinary care and communication 
  • Improved implementation of protocolized care 
  • Improved clinical outcomes 
  • Enhanced patient satisfaction 
  • Better results in any payment/incentive models  

To achieve GSV Level 1 – Comprehensive Excellence status, the GSV Program standards must be verified across one or more surgical specialties and reach 50 percent or more of the hospital’s total population of eligible surgical patients age 75 years or older.

Additionally, Hackensack University Medical Center has been accredited through the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) as  Geriatric (appropriate) Emergency Departments with ACEP’s Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation program (GEDA.) The accreditation is the first of its kind and is part of an effort to improve the quality and standards of emergency care provided to the nation’s older patients. This includes early identification of patients over 65 years old who are at risk for delirium, display functional and cognitive decline or have fallen.

“With older Americans being one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country, I’m proud that Hackensack University Medical Center has been working to create a new standard of care for this population,” said Mark Sparta, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive of Hackensack University Medical Center and president of Hackensack Meridian Health’s Northern Region. 

For more information or for an interview, contact [email protected]



Hackensack University Medical Center, a 781-bed nonprofit teaching and research hospital, was Bergen County’s first hospital founded in 1888. It was also the first hospital in New Jersey and second in the nation to become a Magnet®-recognized hospital for nursing excellence, receiving its sixth consecutive designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The academic flagship of the Hackensack Meridian Health network, Hackensack University Medical Center is Nationally-Ranked by U.S. News & World Report 2022-2023 in four specialties, more than any other hospital in New Jersey. The hospital is home to the state’s only nationally-ranked Urology and Neurology & Neurosurgery programs, as well as the best Cardiology & Heart Surgery program. It also offers patients nationally-ranked Orthopedic care and one of the state’s premier Cancer Centers (John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center). Hackensack University Medical Center also ranked as High-Performing in conditions such as Acute Kidney Failure, Heart Attack (AMI), Heart Failure, Pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Diabetes and Stroke. As well as High Performing in procedures like Aortic Valve Surgery, Heart Bypass Surgery (CABG), Colon Cancer Surgery, Lung Cancer Surgery, Prostate Cancer Surgery, Hip Replacement and Knee Replacement. This award-winning care is provided on a campus that is home to facilities such as the Heart & Vascular Hospital; and the Sarkis and Siran Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s Pavilion, which houses the Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital and the Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital, ranked #1 in the state and top 20 in the Mid-Atlantic Region in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-23 Best Children’s Hospital Report. Additionally, the children’s nephrology program ranks in the top 50 in the United States. Hackensack University Medical Center is also home to the Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center and is listed on the Green Guide’s list of Top 10 Green Hospitals in the U.S. Our comprehensive clinical research portfolio includes studies focused on precision medicine, translational medicine, immunotherapy, cell therapy, and vaccine development. The hospital has embarked on the largest healthcare expansion project ever approved by the state: Construction of the Helena Theurer Pavilion, a 530,000-sq.-ft., nine-story building, which began in 2019. A $714.2 million endeavor, the pavilion is one the largest healthcare capital projects in New Jersey and will house 24 state-of-the-art operating rooms with intraoperative MRI capability, 50 ICU beds, and 175 medical/surgical beds including a 50 room Musculoskeletal Institute. 


Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. The network has 18 hospitals and more than 500 patient care locations, which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers, physician practice locations, and a fitness and wellness center. With more than 35,000 team members and 7,000 physicians, Hackensack Meridian Health is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy and committed to the health and well-being of communities throughout New Jersey. 

The network’s notable distinctions include having more U.S. News-ranked hospitals than any other health system in New Jersey, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, 2022-23. Hackensack University Medical Center is nationally-ranked by U.S. News & World Report in four specialties, more than any other hospital in New Jersey. Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center, and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, are ranked #1 in the state and top 20 in the Mid-Atlantic Region by U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-23 Best Children’s Hospital Report. Additionally, their combined nephrology program ranks in the top 50 in the United States. To learn more, visit www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org.