Alegent Health Mercy Hospital is Taking Cardiovascular Care to Heart
Release Date: 02/27/2007

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Hospital’s Chest Pain Center Earns National Accreditation, Ensuring Patients Receive Quality-of-Care when Faced with a Heart-Related Emergency COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa—The Alegent Health Mercy Hospital Chest Pain Center is taking the lead on providing quality, cardiovascular care in the region with accreditation by the Society of Chest Pain Centers. Nationally accredited Chest Pain Centers have been proven to save lives through the rapid treatment of patients showing signs of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and in a safe, cost-effective way, managing those low-risk patients who come into the Emergency Room complaining of chest pain. Mercy Hospital is the only accredited Chest Pain Center from Lincoln, Neb. to Des Moines, Iowa; and one of fewer than 400 hospitals and health systems across the country to have achieved this distinction. “Despite public education, heart disease remains the number one killer of both men and women in this country. Achieving Chest Pain Center accreditation combines best practices with quality, patient-centered care that is provided to every person who comes into the Emergency Department complaining of chest pain,” said Randy Pritza, medical director of the Alegent Health Mercy Hospital Chest Pain Center. “This involves the hard work and dedication of the Emergency Room physicians, nurses and staff along with working together for the common goal of saving lives.” The Society’s accreditation process insures that centers must meet or exceed quality-of-care measures in acute cardiac medicine. Recently a review team from the Society of Chest Pain Centers conducted an on-site evaluation at Mercy Hospital, observing staff demonstrate its expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding a wide set of strict criteria and guidelines. These guidelines act as a road map to improve quality of care and include the following components:
  • Full integration of the emergency department with the local emergency medical system
  • Immediate assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients quickly
  • Effective treatment of patients with low risk of acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms
  • Functional facility design to provide the highest quality of patient care
  • Competent Chest Pain Center personnel and regular training
  • Maintain organizational structure and commitment to continuous improvement of processes and procedures
  • Support of public outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack
  • Each year more than 600,000 deaths are attributed to heart disease, making AMI the leading cause of death among adults in the United States. The goal of Chest Pain Centers is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of these patients through a protocol-driven, systematic approach to patient management which promotes the best outcome for the patient. Fundamental to the goals of these centers is to teach the public the early warning signs and symptoms of a possible heart attack and the proper way to react, decrease the time it takes for a patient to receive care and increase the accuracy of effectiveness of treatment. In addition, the center provides a specialized observation setting in which ED staff and physicians are better able to monitor patients when it is unclear whether they are having a coronary event. In addition to Mercy Hospital’s Chest Pain Center Accreditation, patients are consistently receiving emergency care at all five Alegent Health metro hospitals in the critical 90 minute window, the so called door-to-balloon time, more than 90 percent of the time. These initiatives are part of Alegent Health’s commitment for more than a year to make improvements in quality through the thorough delivery of patient care and the recording of quality indicators making up the Alegent 20 scoring system relating to heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia. Nationwide, hospitals are required to report on 10 of these indicators. Alegent Health has chosen to publicly report its performance on 10 additional measures. “The Chest Pain Center accreditation combined with our overall system composite score of 90.9 percent for door-to-balloon time are perfect examples of the extreme focus all of Alegent Health’s hospitals have on providing patients with the high quality care they demand and deserve,” said Fred Hosler, M.D., MPA, senior vice president and chief medical officer of Alegent Health. “We are in the business of saving lives and that is something we all take very seriously.”