St. Bernards Medical Center Earns Quality, Safety Certification for Advanced Heart Attack Care

JONESBORO, Ark. – St. Bernards Medical Center recently achieved certification from The Joint Commissionand the American Heart Association as an Advanced Primary Heart Attack Center.

To earn the certification, the hospital underwent a rigorous, unannounced onsite review where The Joint Commissionevaluated compliance standards related to both quality and safety. The Joint Commission developed these standards in consultation with healthcare experts and providers as well as measurement experts and patients. The reviewers also conducted onsite observations and interviews.

Deborah Ryan, MS, RN, interim executive vice president, ofAccreditation and Certification Operations with The Joint Commission said the Advanced Primary Heart Attack Centercertification recognizes healthcare organizations committed to fostering continuous improvement in patient safety and quality of care.

“We commend St. Bernards Medical Center for using certification to reduce variation in its clinical processes and to strengthen its program structure and management framework for cardiac patients,” Ryan said.

According to The Joint Commission, key characteristics of an Advanced Primary Heart Attack Center program include a focus on symptom onset and first medical contact (pre-hospital and upon arrival) as well as emergency medical services, the emergency department, catheterization laboratories and inpatient settings.

The group facilitates the program through an ongoing partnership with the American Heart Association.

“We congratulate St. Bernards Medical Center for this outstanding achievement,” said American Heart Association chief executive officer Nancy Brown. “This certification reflects its commitment to providing the highest quality of care for cardiac patients.”

St. Bernards Medical Center Vice President of Heart Care Services Connie Hill, DNP, said St. Bernards prioritizes individualized, patient-centric care standards that use the latest technologies, therapies and treatments. She emphasized, however, that care standards mean nothing without an exceptional team implementing them.

“We have incredible professionals deploying our cardiovascular services,” Hill said. “We start with wellness initiatives andpreventative medicine. We then move to full-service heart attack care. Finally, we rehabilitate post heart attack. Whatever the need, our team provides an unmatched level of care.”

Despite St. Bernards’ efforts, Hill said heart disease rates in Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri remain well above national rates. She added, however, that the hospital’s certification shows a targeted response.

“Each year, heart disease kills more people in the U.S. than any other cause,” Hill said. “Its prevalence grows when we narrow toArkansas and our region. This Heart Care team answered these trends, and they work nonstop to save lives and make our community a healthier place to live.”

For more information on The Joint Commission’s certifications, please visit In addition, for more information on St. Bernards Healthcare’s heart awards and certifications, visit

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