GMC becomes first Comprehensive Heart Attack Center in US

DANVILLE, Pa. – Geisinger Medical Center (GMC) is the country’s first hospital to receive The Joint Commission/American Heart Association (AHA) Comprehensive Heart Attack Center Certification. 
Already recognized by the organizations as a Mission Lifeline­® Heart Attack Receiving Center for its ability to quickly restore blood flow to the heart in patients with the most severe type of heart attack, GMC has now set the national standard for care coordination among hospital leadership, interventional cardiology, cardiac surgery, heart failure, advanced practice, nursing, life support, emergency medicine, emergency medical services (EMS), care management, pharmacy, and cardiac rehab teams. 
Every second is critical when trying to preserve heart muscle and function in patients having cardiac episodes, and this degree of full-team support means patients will receive the highest level of care as quickly as it can be delivered. 
Geisinger engaged the certification process to bring the best possible cardiac care close to home for patients and members in central and northeastern Pennsylvania – another step forward in the system’s vision of making better health easier for the communities it serves. 
“GMC staff has shown they’re ready to treat a broad spectrum of chest-pain patients including those who go to the emergency room (ER) with chest pain, go into cardiac arrest outside the hospital, have heart attacks and need blood flow restored quickly, need open-heart procedures, or need advanced therapies like extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for life support or left ventricle assist device (LVAD) procedures for heart failure,” said interventional cardiologist Thomas Scott, D.O, director of the cardiac catheterization lab and co-medical director of the Comprehensive Heart Attack Center Certification program at the medical center. 
Geisinger partnered with The Joint Commission on the pilot program for this new certification in November, and a multi-disciplinary team was ready when the commission returned at the end of July for a rigorous onsite review.  
Reviewers with a nursing background evaluated records for patients who were currently admitted or had been cared for at GMC since the beginning of the year and pushed staff on quality measures including leadership engagement, collaboration with EMS, medical decision making, systemwide approach to quality improvement, performance improvement projects and engagement with pharmacy at the bedside. 
“Taking care of these patients is a team sport,” said Cinde Bower-Stout, R.N., M.H.A., cardiovascular quality manager and program director of the Comprehensive Heart Attack Center Certification program at the medical center. “Our front-line staff are just as critical as our specialists as they assess lab results for potential issues, administer pain-management treatment, educate patients on what to expect when they get home and receive ongoing care, round with our multi-disciplinary teams and help patients regain their strength with in-hospital therapies in preparation for discharge.”
Geisinger was also noted for its ability to offer cardiac rehab in both in-person and virtual formats to help patients recover after cardiac events. 
“Comprehensive Heart Attack Center Certification recognizes health care organizations committed to fostering continuous quality improvement in patient safety and quality of care,” said Mark Pelletier, R.N., M.S., chief operating officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and chief nursing executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend GMC for reducing variation in its clinical processes and strengthening its program structure and management framework for cardiac patients.”


About Geisinger
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a Research Institute and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. With nearly 24,000 employees and more than 1,700 employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.


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