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Published on November 06, 2014

UHS honored for care of heart-failure patients 

UHS has received a national “Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award” for its exceptional care of patients experiencing heart failure.

To qualify for Gold-Plus status, UHS demonstrated that it has implemented specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology Foundation.

"We share with the Get With The Guidelines program a commitment to proven methods of diagnosing and treating heart failure," said Matthew J. Salanger, president and chief executive officer of UHS.  "By practicing according to these standards, we are able to provide care that is timely and effective in addressing a significant and life-threatening condition for a great many patients."

Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure is a quality improvement program that helps hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, research-based standards to speed recovery and reduce readmissions for heart-failure patients.

UHS earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for diagnosis and treatment at set levels and periods of time at UHS Wilson Medical Center.

These measures include proper use of medications and aggressive risk-reduction therapies, such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, diuretics and anticoagulants while patients are in the hospital.

Patients also receive education on managing their heart failure and overall health and are screened for potential referral to cardiac rehabilitation.

“UHS is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our heart-failure patients,” said Afzal ur Rehman, MD, PhD, managing director of the UHS Heart Institute. “Implementing the Get With The Guidelines program helps us to accomplish this goal by tracking and measuring our success in meeting nationally accepted guidelines.”

UHS was praised for its ongoing efforts to provide patient-centered care.

“We are pleased to recognize UHS for their commitment to heart-failure care,” said Deepak Bhatt, MD, MPH, national chairman of the Get With the Guidelines steering committee.

Dr. Bhatt, who also serves as executive director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women's Hospital and professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, noted: “Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow the guidelines’ quality improvement measures can reduce patient lengths of stay and 30-day readmission rates and also reduce disparity gaps in care.”

According to the American Heart Association, about 5.1 million people suffer from heart failure; each year, 670,000 new cases are diagnosed and more than 275,000 people die.

However, many heart-failure patients can lead full lives when their condition is managed with proper medications and devices and with healthy lifestyle changes.

UHS, which recently consolidated all of its cardiac programs under the banner of the UHS Heart Institute, is the region’s largest and most comprehensive provider of cardiac services.

Patients benefit from a full range of diagnostic and treatment options, backed by a dedicated and highly skilled team of heart specialists.

Get With The Guidelines is the American Heart Association’s and American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that provides hospitals with the latest research-based standards for patient care.

With a goal of saving lives and hastening recovery, it has touched the lives of more than four million patients since 2001.

For more information, visit heart.org/quality or heart.org/myhealthcare.