American Heart Association Recognizes St. Bernards for Excellence in Heartcare  

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JONESBORO, Ark. – St. Bernards Medical Center has been recognized by the American Heart Association for the fifth consecutive year for excellence in heartcare.

This marks the third year the medical center has earned a Mission: Lifeline® Receiving Center GOLD PLUS Quality Achievement Award for treatment of patients who suffer a specific kind of heart attack – an ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (a STEMI) – the most severe heart attack.

The hospital also received a newly instituted award – a Mission: Lifeline NSTEMI – Bronze award in recognition of its continued success in using the most up-to-date evidence-based treatment guidelines for patients suffering from non-STEMIs. This is the first year the AHA has presented this recognition, and Bronze is the highest achievement level.

St. Bernards was the first hospital in Arkansas to earn the AHA Mission: Lifeline® Receiving Center GOLD PLUS Level Recognition Award. And it is the only hospital in the state to receive that recognition for three consecutive years.

St. Bernards heartcare physicians recently were recognized for their care of area residents that made the awards possible.

The GOLD PLUS award acknowledges the medical center’s continuing commitment to and success in implementing the highest standards of care for heart attack patients based on data for the 2016 calendar year.

Each year in the United States, nearly 300,000 people experience ST elevation myocardial infarctions (STEMIs). To prevent death, this condition requires timely treatment because it is critical to restore blood flow to the heart as quickly as possible. That is done either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by using “clot-busting” medication. The Mission: Lifeline® program puts the expertise of the American Heart Association to work, helping communities and hospitals save lives by closing the gaps that separate STEMI patients from speedy access to appropriate treatments.

Receiving hospitals earn Gold recognition for achieving 85 percent or higher composite adherence and at least 24 consecutive months of 75 percent or higher compliance on all Mission: Lifeline STEMI Receiving Center quality measures.

In addition, the Gold Plus component is earned for achieving at least 75 percent compliance of these measures in STEMI patients that are transferred to St. Bernards from other facilities or first responders.

St. Bernards Medical Center is listed in the U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” issue because of its level of STEMI care.

Through a specialized protocol for patients with STEMIs, the St. Bernards heartcare team has been able to reduce the number of deaths from heart attacks and improve outcomes.

Patients with STEMIs are identified by a unique pattern on EKGs. Through the St. Bernards Delta Ridge STEMI Network, hospital emergency departments and first responders throughout Northeast Arkansas have been trained to identify STEMIs and to expedite the transfer of patients for life-saving care.

The national gold standard is to have the blocked arteries opened within 90 minutes of the time a patient from the immediate Jonesboro area is seen by a healthcare professional.

“Our average time year to date for area EMS agencies and the emergency department is 62.53 minutes,” said Dr. Barry Tedder, cardiologist with St. Bernards Heart & Vascular. He talked briefly about what the St. Bernards heartcare team has done to receive the award as well as what it means to those who live in Northeast Arkansas.

“The American Heart Association gold standard for outlying/referral hospitals door-to-balloon time is less than 120 minutes,” he continued. “Here at St. Bernards, our average time year to date for referral hospitals is 76.95 minutes.

Dr. Jaime Chavez, interventional cardiologist with St. Bernards Heart and Vascular spoke briefly about the significance of being able both quickly and appropriately to treat patients who have suffered what can be life-altering STEMIs.

“Our physicians at St. Bernards and Heart & Vascular are committed to improving our times even more. It is with their continued efforts and that of the cath lab staff that we have received the highest American Heart Association Mission: Lifeline® award for STEMI care – the GOLD PLUS – for three years in a row,” Chavez stressed, noting that this year, the St. Bernards heartcare team has treated more than 200 STEMI patients.

“The care our patients receive is our number one priority,” Chavez emphasized. “That is why we are pleased to be recognized for performance in the Mission: Lifeline® program of the American Heart Association.

“What really is important to us is that this shows we are having a positive impact on the lives of our patients.”

Featured photo

Dr. Jaime Chavez (left) and Dr. Barry Tedder (right) interventional cardiologists with St. Bernards Heart & Vascular, and Lindsey Stacy, STEMI coordinator for St. Bernards, show the 2017 Mission: Lifeline Receiving Center GOLD PLUS Achievement Award that has been presented to St. Bernards for the third consecutive year. St. Bernards was the first hospital in Arkansas and is the only medical center in the state to receive the top award from the American Heart Association for three consecutive years.

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