Merit Health Wesley gets international certification

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Merit Health Wesley has gotten a prestigious international award.

It has received gold certification from Planetree International, a non-profit group that works with healthcare institutions to improve patient care.

Thursday, employees celebrated the award with a reception at the hospital.

"There are 26 gold-certified Planetree organizations in the United States and 85 worldwide, so we're certainly proud to be, not only one of those 26 in the country, but the first in Mississippi to receive this," said Mike Neuendorf, chief executive officer of Merit Health Wesley.

Neuendorf said the certification process took about a year-and-a-half.

"(Planetree International has) ten components to their program," he said. "Many of these programs we had in place, but we needed to rekindle them, re-package them and introduce some new components as well."

the hospital has about 1,000 employees.