SAN MARCOS, TX – Central Texas Medical Center (CTMC) received an important accreditation as a certified chest pain center this week from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC) that enhances the hospital’s ability to receive and treat patients suffering from chest pain and/or a possible heart attack through a collaborative effort between the hospital, first responders and cardiac specialists. The accreditation is an important step in CTMC’s ongoing efforts to expand and enhance its cardiac services.
“Great things are going on here at CTMC,” said Anna Ek, BSN, RN accreditation specialist with SCPC. “The misconception among many Americans is that you have to go to a big city to get quality specialty cardiac care. You really don’t, CTMC is doing some very special things that we plan to share with other cardiac facilities around the country,” added Ek.
CTMC’s Certified Chest Pain Center created a special collaborative partnerships between the hospital, area EMS providers, CTMC ER physicians and Austin Heart cardiologists who staff CTMC. Specific protocols and services are immediately put into place for all patients arriving to the ER suffering from chest pain or other potential heart attack symptoms. In the case of patients being transported via an ambulance, some of the protocols are actually begun before arrival to the hospital.
Plans to establish a Chest Pain Center began at CTMC with the arrival of Capital Emergency Associates, who staff CTMC’s ER. In addition ongoing Hospital Quality Alliance successes, have consistently demonstrated that CTMC outperforms most hospitals in Texas -- and the nation -- in heart-attack patient care.
Among the best practices the SCPC surveyors noted during their site visit on Aug,. 10 were CTMC’s collaborative relationships and partnerships with area EMS providers, the AirEvac helicopter presence on the CTMC campus and the hospital’s clinical affiliations with tertiary cardiac providers St. David’s and The Heart Hospital of Austin. The hospital’s cardiac community outreach, including screenings and education and long demonstrated consistencies in process and protocol to ensure such good quality outcomes were also commended. “Our mission at SCPC is to reduce cardiac deaths and the way CTMC is doing things is clearly worth sharing with other cardiac facilities around the nation,” added Ek.
“This accreditation is the culmination of a great deal of work and determination by a large group of people united for a common cause,” said Sam Huenergardt, CTMC president and CEO. “The accreditation and the significance of the accomplishment truly inspires us to move forward with our next phase of enhanced cardiac services,” added Huenergardt.
Hospitals that have received SCPC accreditation have achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack. They emphasize the importance of standardized diagnostic and treatment programs that provide more efficient and effective evaluation as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment of patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms. They also serve as a point of entry into the healthcare system to evaluate and treat other medical problems, and they help to promote a healthier lifestyle in an attempt to reduce the risk factors for heart attack.
To become an Accredited Chest Pain Center, CTMC engaged in rigorous evaluation by SCPC for its ability to assess, diagnose, and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. To the communities served by CTMC, this means that processes are in place that meet strict criteria aimed at:
• Reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment
• Treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved
• Monitoring patients when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack to ensure that they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital
CTMC plans to expand its specialty cardiac services in 2012. Proceeds from the upcoming CTMC Foundation Stars of Taxes Gala on Oct. 9 will help fund the enhanced cardiac services.
For more information, or to measure your heart attack risk factors, please visit www.ctmc.org.