The Medical Center received full accreditation with PCI from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC) on September 13, 2013. This the fourth accreditation cycle The Medical Center has completed since 2004. The Medical Center is the only Chest Pain Center in Southcentral Kentucky accredited with PCI. Percutaneous coronary intervention, referred to as PCI, is the use of cardiac catheterization to treat the narrowed coronary arteries of the heart.
"Receiving the highest level of accreditation by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care demonstrates that The Medical Center is providing the national standard of care right here in our community for a heart attack patient," said Connie D. Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth Health Corporation, parent company of The Medical Center. "The use of PCI allows our interventional cardiologists to go directly to the source of a blockage to preserve heart muscle and potentially reduce mortality."
According to guidelines established by the American College of Cardiologists and the American Heart Association, when done in a timely fashion, PCI is the preferred treatment option for patients suffering from acute myocardial infarction, or a heart attack. The Medical Center operates its Cardiac Catheterization Lab 24 hours a day, seven days a week to ensure that PCI can be performed by an interventional cardiologist when indicated.
"The rigorous standards we meet in treating heart attack patients are reflected in our accreditation the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care," said Bart Spurlin, M.D., Medical Director of The Medical Center Emergency Department. "Our team of healthcare professionals from Medical Center EMS, Emergency Department, Cardiac Cath Lab, Nursing and various ancillary departments works tirelessly to ensure the most appropriate, evidence-based care is provided in the most efficient and timely manner to save lives and reduce the damaging effects of heart attacks."
Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. SCPC's goal is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of these patients by teaching the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a possible heart attack, reduce the time that it takes to receive treatment, and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.
"We have seen some amazing outcomes as a result of the work we are doing at The Medical Center," said Dr. Spurlin. "Many are returning home to their families who would not have survived a few years ago."
The Accredited Chest Pain Center's protocol-driven and systematic approach to patient management allows physicians to reduce time to treatment during the critical early stages of a heart attack, when treatments are most effective, and to better monitor patients when it is not clear whether or not they are having a coronary event. Such observation helps ensure that patients are neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted.
With the increase in chest pain centers came the need to establish standards designed to improve the consistency and quality of care provided to patients. SCPC's accreditation process ensures that centers meet or exceed quality-of-care measures in acute cardiac medicine.
The Accredited Chest Pain Center at The Medical Center has demonstrated its expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding a wide set of stringent criteria and undergoing an onsite review by a team of SPCP's accreditation review specialists. Key areas in which an Accredited Chest Pain Center must demonstrate expertise include the following:
• Integrating the emergency department with the local emergency medical system
• Assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients quickly
• Effectively treating patients with low risk for acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms
• Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures
• Ensuring the competence and training of Accredited Chest Pain Center personnel
• Maintaining organizational structure and commitment
• Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care
• Supporting community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack