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American Heart Association Quality News: Commitment to Quality Results in Lower Mortality Rates for Heart Attack and Heart Failure Patients
Date:10/6/2009

- Significant variation exists in the quality of care for treatment of heart failure and coronary artery disease in U.S. hospitals.

- Hospitals receiving performance awards in the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines (GWTG) quality improvement program appear to have better outcomes in these areas than all other hospitals

DALLAS, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hospitals receiving performance awards from the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines (GWTG) quality improvement initiative have lower mortality rates for heart attack and heart failure patients than all other hospitals, according to a new study.

"Many hospitals enrolled in Get With The Guidelines achieve high levels of recommended care for heart failure, heart attack and stroke," said Paul A. Heidenreich, M.D., M.S., the study lead author and staff physician with the Veteran's Administration Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto, Calif. "However, prior to this study, it was unclear if actual outcomes are better in those hospitals recognized for high performance by the program."

In the study, published in the American Heart Journal, researchers gathered 30-day survival data for all hospitals for heart attack and heart failure, as reported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). They then compared that to the 30-day survival for those conditions reported by award-winning Get With The Guidelines hospitals. Of the 3,909 hospitals represented in the CMS data, 355 received GWTG performance awards for achieving high levels of recommended process of care.

Heidenreich and colleagues found small statistically significant differences in mortality between GWTG performance achievers and all other hospitals.

"Some of those differences were explained by the differences in quality of care, with the hospitals that received awards having better quality," he said.

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SOURCE American Heart Association
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