Alegent Health Takes Heart with Chest Pain Center Accreditation
Release Date: 05/24/2007

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All five Alegent Health metro hospitals earn Chest Pain Center national accreditation; ensuring patients receive the highest quality-of-care when faced with a heart-related emergency. OMAHA, Neb.—Alegent Health is the only health system in the region taking the lead on providing high quality, cardiovascular care with all five metro hospital Chest Pain Centers earning accreditation through the Society of Chest Pain Centers. The Society recently notified the Chest Pain Centers at Bergan Mercy Medical Center, Immanuel Medical Center, Lakeside Hospital and Midlands Hospital of the distinction. Alegent Health Mercy Hospital’s Chest Pain Center became the first Alegent Health facility to be accredited in late February. Nationally, accredited Chest Pain Centers have been proven to save lives through the rapid treatment of patients showing signs of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Furthermore, accredited facilities manage those low-risk patients who come into the Emergency Room complaining of chest pain in a safe, cost-effective way. Alegent Health’s metro hospitals are the only accredited Chest Pain Centers from Lincoln, Neb., to Des Moines, Iowa; and several of less than 400 hospitals and health systems across the country to have achieved this distinction. Each year, more than one million people are diagnosed with having a coronary attack, making heart disease the nation’s number one killer of both men and women. “Alegent Health is committed to making a significant dent in these staggering statistics with our accredited Chest Pain Centers. If you have chest pain, you can be confident that no matter which Alegent Health facility you go to in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area, you will be treated with equal high quality, patient-centered care,” said Mark Kestner, M.D., vice president and chief quality officer for Alegent Health. “This begins as soon as you walk into the door and involves teamwork among the entire health care team, from the Emergency Room physicians, nurses and staff, to the Cardiac Catheterization laboratory, cardiologists and technicians, all 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. A review team from the Society of Chest Pain Centers recently conducted an on-site evaluation at the hospital campuses of Bergan Mercy, Immanuel, Lakeside, Midlands and Mercy, observing staff demonstrate expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding a wide array 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 the American Heart Association estimates that more than 450,000 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. Studies show that when it comes to treating a heart-related event, standardized care using evidence-based medicine is critical to saving lives. All five of Alegent Health’s metro hospitals have shown to be extremely consistent more than 99 percent of the time when it comes to following the protocol of quality treatment for Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) established by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). For nearly two years, Alegent Health has been committed to making measurable improvements in quality through the thorough delivery of patient care and the recording of quality indicators. These scores make up the Alegent 20 scoring system which relates to heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia. “Alegent Health is in the business of saving lives and the Chest Pain Centers’ accreditation combined with our overall system AMI composite score of 99.1 percent for quality indicators, which include door-to-balloon time, are perfect examples of the extreme focus we have on providing patients with high quality care,” said Fred Hosler, M.D., MPA, senior vice president and chief medical officer of Alegent Health. “It’s something patients have come to expect and deserve when they come through our doors and something that we take very seriously.” Chest Pain Centers page