Atrium Health Home to Two of Only Ten Centers in the Nation to Achieve Advanced Certification in Spine Surgery from The Joint Commission

09.01.2022 Atrium Health News | Musculoskeletal Institute

Atrium Health Cabarrus Earns Esteemed Gold Seal of Approval

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 1, 2022 – Atrium Health Cabarrus was awarded The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for Advanced Certification in Spine Surgery by demonstrating continuous compliance with its performance standards. This additional certification makes Atrium Health one of the only health systems in the nation to have multiple facilities to earn The Joint Commission’s distinguished Gold Seal designations in spine surgery. Atrium Health Carolinas Medical Center was the first site to receive it in 2021. The Gold Seal is a symbol of quality that reflects a health care organization’s commitment to providing safe and quality patient care.  

In collaboration with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the certification focuses on the surgical flow process from the pre-surgical spine consultation to hospital admission, intraoperative experience, rehabilitation activities and follow-up visits with the spine surgeon. Atrium Health and Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates (CNSA) partnered in this achievement.

In 2021, SpineFirst was established between the two groups to elevate the delivery of spine care. The goals of SpineFirst align with the high standards set by The Joint Commission for excellence in care coordination and a commitment to consistent communication across all spine care settings.  

”We are honored to have received this stamp of approval from The Joint Commission at now our second location,” said Dr. Claude “T” Moorman, president of Atrium Health Musculoskeletal Institute. “This designation showcases the talented teams and collective effort between Atrium Health and CNSA through our combined partnership, SpineFirst.”

In July 2022, Atrium Health Cabarrus and CNSA underwent a rigorous, in-person review. During the visit, The Joint Commission reviewer evaluated compliance with related certification standards, including collaborative design, implementation and evaluation of the spine program, and alliance of interdisciplinary teams. Atrium Health Cabarrus was evaluated on meeting patient needs through safe and accessible facilities, patient-specific therapy, evidence-based interventions and the patient’s involvement in care. The team at Atrium Health Cabarrus was also assessed on its communication between outpatient practices at CNSA. The Joint Commission standards are developed in consultation with health care professionals and providers, measurement experts and patients.

“This distinction exemplifies what we can accomplish when we have interdisciplinary collaboration between surgeons and care teams to ensure we are delivering the highest quality, patient-centered care possible,” said Dr. Domagoj Coric, executive medical director of SpineFirst. “This certification validates that we continue to provide world class care to the patients of Atrium Health Cabarrus and the entire SpineFirst community.””

Multidisciplinary teams across Atrium Health Cabarrus worked to ensure each group had opportunities to weigh in on the process, ask questions, and collaborate in preparation for the site visit, including nursing, pre-op, operating room, the post-anesthesia care unit, rehabilitation and many more.

“This certification highlights the excellent spine program we have for residents in Cabarrus County and surrounding areas,” said Asha Rodriguez, vice president and facility executive at Atrium Health Cabarrus. “We are thrilled to be recognized for the high level of care we provide to our patients close to home.”

For more information about the Gold Seal of Approval® for Advanced Certification in Spine Surgery, please visit The Joint Commission website.  

About SpineFirst 

SpineFirst is a joint venture established between two of the most respected and renowned health care organizations in the country – Atrium Health and Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates. This Joint Venture is an equal partnership of the two Charlotte-based medical innovators, nationally known for creating and providing multidisciplinary treatments for complex spine ailments, including surgical and nonsurgical care. SpineFirst provides complete spine care through an established network that includes 37 experienced, board-certified spine specialists from the fields of neurosurgery, physiatry, and orthopedic spine surgery. The leadership team consists of pioneers in the national advancement of spinal surgery, research, and patient outcomes. As a result, SpineFirst makes it easier than ever for patients and their physicians to have access to the best possible spine care provided by the region’s largest team of spine specialists, which has over 80 years of experience. To learn more or make a referral to SpineFirst, please visit or call 704-831-4000. 

About Atrium Health 
Atrium Health is a nationally recognized leader in shaping health outcomes through innovative research, education and compassionate patient care. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Atrium Health is an integrated, nonprofit health system with more than 70,000 teammates serving patients at 40 hospitals and more than 1,400 care locations. It provides care under the Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist name in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina, region, as well as Atrium Health Navicent and Atrium Health Floyd in Georgia and Alabama. Atrium Health is renowned for its top-ranked pediatric, cancer and heart care, as well as organ transplants, burn treatments and specialized musculoskeletal programs. A recognized leader in experiential medical education and groundbreaking research, Wake Forest University School of Medicine is the academic core of the enterprise, including Wake Forest Innovations, which is advancing new medical technologies and biomedical discoveries. Atrium Health is also a leading-edge innovator in virtual care and mobile medicine, providing care close to home and in the home. Ranked nationally among U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals in eight pediatric specialties and for rehabilitation, Atrium Health has also received the American Hospital Association’s Quest for Quality Prize and its 2021 Carolyn Boone Lewis Equity of Care Award, as well as the 2020 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Health Equity Award for its efforts to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in care. With a commitment to every community it serves, Atrium Health seeks to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing – for all, providing $2.46 billion last year in free and uncompensated care and other community benefits. 

About Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates 
Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates was established in 1940 and is the largest neurosurgery practice in the country. The group includes 48 physicians and has 10 offices in the Charlotte and Greensboro areas. Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates features physicians in the specialty areas of neurosurgery, physical medicine & rehabilitation (physiatry), and pain management. The group offers advanced surgical and nonsurgical treatment for the entire spectrum of brain, spine, and peripheral nerve disorders, including brain tumors, spine injuries, degenerative spine disorders, stroke, aneurysms, and movement disorders. The practice has offices in Charlotte, Concord, Huntersville, Matthews, Mooresville, Rock Hill, Ballantyne, Gastonia, Greensboro, and Kernersville. To learn more about Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, go to or call 704-376-1605.