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Allegheny General, Jefferson & Saint Vincent Hospitals Receive Accolades for Cardiac Programs

Allegheny Health Network’s Allegheny General Hospital (AGH), Jefferson Hospital, and Saint Vincent Hospital have earned various honors from leading national cardiac organizations for the quality of their heart care programs. That includes, for the fifth consecutive year, AGH and Jefferson receiving the highest national recognition from the American Heart Association (AHA) for their heart failure programs.

AGH and Jefferson Hospital took home Gold Plus honors in this year’s Get With The Guidelines®—Heart Failure Achievement Awards, the AHA’s annual accolades for hospitals that implement specific quality improvement measures outlined by the AHA/American College of Cardiology (ACC) Foundation’s secondary prevention guidelines for patients with heart failure.

Other honors earned by AHN hospitals include:

  • The AHA’s Mission: Lifeline® STEMI Recognition Program named Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie a Mission: Lifeline Receiving Center Silver STEMI Award winner for treatment of patients suffering from the most severe kind of heart attack, known as an ST-elevation myocardial infarction or STEMI. Saint Vincent is also accredited as a Mission: Lifeline Heart Attack Receiving Center, a designation also held by Jefferson Hospital.
  • The ACC honored Jefferson Hospital as winner of a 2017 National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR) ACTION Registry—Get With The Guidelines (GWTG) Platinum Performance Achievement Award for utilizing certain quality yardsticks for the treatment of patients suffering STEMI. It marks the second straight year Jefferson has earned the award.
  • AGH received the Get With The Guidelines—AFIB Silver Quality Achievement Award for putting in place specific quality improvement measures outlined by the AHA/ACC/Heart Rhythm Society for the management of patients with atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke and other complications.
  • AGH and Jefferson earned spots on the Target: Heart Failure Honor Roll, an AHA initiative that requires hospitals to meet criteria that improves medication adherence, provides early follow-up care and coordination, and enhances patient education. Hospitals on the honor roll receive educational tools, prevention programs, and treatment guidelines for heart failure patients, with the goal of helping patients improve their quality of life in managing the chronic condition of heart failure.

“We are proud of all of these honors received by AGH, Jefferson Hospital, and Saint Vincent Hospital because our participation with the American Heart Association and its Get With The Guidelines and Mission: Lifeline programs are a testament to our commitment to providing quality care to our patients for whatever their cardiac needs may be,” said Srinivas Murali, MD, Director, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and Medical Director, Cardiovascular Institute for AHN. “We strive to deliver consistent, high-quality care for our cardiac patients, enabling them to enjoy the best possible clinical outcomes and quality of life.”

The GWTG—Heart Failure awards program helps to ensure hospital teams are providing the most up-to-date, evidence-based standards of care with the goal of speeding the recovery time and reducing hospital readmissions for heart failure patients. Hospitals receiving Gold Plus achievement have reached an aggressive goal of treating heart failure patients with 85 percent or higher compliance to core standard levels of care as outlined by the AHA for a period of 24 consecutive months. Additionally, Gold Plus hospitals have demonstrated 75 percent or higher compliance to a self-selected group of quality measures.

Heart failure affects nearly 6 million Americans annually, according to the AHA, with the number expected to rise to 8 million by 2030. It is also the nation’s and western Pennsylvania’s leading cause of hospitalization among people over the age of 65.

Numerous studies have shown that, by following the Get With The Guidelines measures, hospitals can optimize a patient’s length of stay in the hospital and reduce 30-day readmission rates and disparity gaps in care.

“These guidelines provide a roadmap for patient care, one that is used by our physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in a team-based approach to provide our patients the best-possible cardiac care,” said Chong S. Park, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Jefferson Hospital and Medical Director of the AHN Cardiovascular Institute at Jefferson.

The AHA’s guidelines for heart failure focus on several core quality measures, including the proper use of medications and aggressive risk-reduction therapies, such as ACE inhibitors, ARBs, beta blockers, diuretics, anticoagulants, and other appropriate interventions. Prior to discharge, the guidelines also call for patient education on managing heart failure and overall health, the scheduling of follow-up physician appointments, and other care transition interventions.

Similarly, the AHA’s guidelines for AFIB also include the proper use of medications and aggressive risk-reduction therapies, including safe anticoagulants to prevent stroke. Also evaluated is the usage of medications to stabilize the heart rate and rhythm, and other medications needed to treat additional heart disease. Before discharge, the guidelines also call for patients to receive education on managing their AFIB and stroke risk, counseling if needed, and plan on follow-up care. More than 2.7 million adults suffer from AFIB, according to the AHA.

The AHA launched Mission: Lifeline in 2007 with the goal of improving patient outcomes by breaking down the obstacles that prevented patients undergoing heart attacks from having access to and receiving the right treatments. The Mission: Lifeline system starts with the initial 9-1-1 call or the patient’s first contact with the emergency system and continues into the hospital’s cardiac catheterization lab and through discharge. To earn this accreditation, Saint Vincent had to meet standards for prompt, appropriate heart attack treatment. That includes offering 24/7 percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), better known as angioplasty, a non-surgical procedure used to open narrow or blocked arteries.

“A coordinated, quick response is crucial to saving the lives of patients suffering from STEMI,” said Matthew Becker, MD, an interventional cardiologist at Saint Vincent. “It is the deadliest of all heart attacks because there is complete artery blockage. Teamwork starting with the first contact we have with the patient is critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible.”

Meanwhile, Jefferson Hospital received its Platinum Performance Achievement Award by consistently following the ACTION Registry—GWTG protocol for eight consecutive quarters and meeting a performance standard of 90 percent for specific measures. Full participation in the registry engages hospitals in a robust quality improvement process using data to drive improvements in adherence to guideline recommendations and overall quality of care provided to heart attack patients.

About Allegheny Health Network
Allegheny Health Network, part of Highmark Health, is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving the Western Pennsylvania region. The Network is comprised of eight hospitals, including its flagship academic medical center Allegheny General Hospital, Allegheny Valley Hospital, Canonsburg Hospital, Forbes Hospital, Jefferson Hospital, Saint Vincent Hospital, Westfield Memorial Hospital and West Penn Hospital; a research institute; Health + Wellness Pavilions; an employed physician organization, home and community based health services and a group purchasing organization. The Network employs approximately 17,000 people and has more than 2,800 physicians on its medical staff. The Network also serves as a clinical campus for Temple University School of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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