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Four Allegheny Health Network Hospitals Receive American Heart Association Award for Quality of Heart Failure Treatment

Thursday, November 8, 2018

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Four Allegheny Health Network (AHN) hospitals continue to receive national recognition for the quality of their heart failure programs. Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) and Jefferson Hospital earned Gold Plus honors for the sixth consecutive year, while Forbes Hospital and Allegheny Valley Hospital (AVH) received Silver Plus recognition in this year’s American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Get With The Guidelines®—Heart Failure Achievement Awards.
The American Heart Association (AHA) award recognizes hospitals that implement specific quality improvement measures outlined by the AHA/American College of Cardiology Foundation’s secondary prevention guidelines for patients with heart failure.

The Get With The Guidelines—Heart Failure awards program helps to ensure hospital teams are providing the most up-to-date, evidence-based standards of care with the goal of expediting the recovery of patients with heart failure and reducing hospital readmissions. Heart failure affects nearly 6 million Americans annually, according to the AHA, with the number expected to rise to 8 million by 2030. It is also the nation’s and western Pennsylvania’s leading cause of hospitalization among people over the age of 65. 

“As the impact of heart failure continues to grow, it is imperative that we follow the established, best practices to ensure our patients are receiving the most innovative therapies and guidance on lifestyle changes that will improve their outcomes,” said Srinivas Murali, MD, Co-chair, AHN Cardiovascular Institute and Director, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at AHN. “This national recognition speaks to the consistent, high quality of care that we provide at AHN for heart failure patients.”

According to the AHA, about 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day – an average of 1 death every 38 seconds.  The disease claims more lives each year than all forms of cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease combined.

Hospitals receiving Gold Plus achievement have reached an aggressive goal of treating heart failure patients with 85 percent or higher compliance to core standard levels of care as outlined by the AHA for a period of 24 consecutive months. Silver Plus hospitals have met those goals for 12 consecutive months. Additionally, Gold Plus and Silver Plus hospitals have demonstrated 75 percent or higher compliance to a self-selected group of quality measures.

The guidelines focus on several core quality measures, including the proper use of medications and aggressive risk-reduction therapies, such as ACE inhibitors, ARBs, beta blockers, diuretics, anticoagulants, and other appropriate interventions. Prior to discharge, the guidelines also call for patient education on managing heart failure and overall health, the scheduling of follow-up physician appointments, and other care transition interventions.

AGH, AVH, Forbes, and Jefferson also earned spots on the Target: Heart Failure Honor Roll, an AHA initiative that requires hospitals to meet criteria that improves medication adherence, provides early follow-up care and coordination, and enhances patient education. Hospitals on the honor roll receive educational tools, prevention programs, and treatment guidelines for heart failure patients, with the goal of helping patients improve their quality of life. 
Numerous studies have shown that, by following the Get With The Guidelines measures, hospitals can optimize a patient’s length of stay in the hospital and reduce 30-day readmission rates and disparity gaps in care.

“Our physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals use the AHA’s guidelines as a roadmap for patient care, helping us to provide our patients the best cardiac care possible,” said Chong S. Park, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Jefferson Hospital and Medical Director of the AHN Cardiovascular Institute at Jefferson. 

In addition to heart failure recognition, AGH also recently received the Get With The Guidelines—AFIB Gold Quality Achievement Award and Saint Vincent earned the Bronze Award for putting in place specific quality improvement measures outlined by the AHA/ACC/Heart Rhythm Society for the management of patients with atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat that can lead to stroke and other complications. More than 2.7 million adults suffer from AFIB, according to the AHA.