August 29, 2005

Faith Regional Receives VHA Leadership Award for Clinical Excellence

Faith Regional Health Services has received the 2005 Leadership Award for clinical excellence from VHA, Inc., a national health care provider alliance, for treatment of patients suffering from acute myocardial infarction (AMI), commonly known as heart attack. Faith Regional is one of only 92 VHA member hospitals to receive the award. There are more than 1,200 hospitals in the VHA network.

Karen Tesina, director of cardiovascular services, says the award is an honor and an affirmation of the passion and dedication with which the entire cardiac team has approached improving care. “The award is based on the hospital’s performance measured against a set of nationally accepted standards of care for cardiac patients,” Tesina said.

“These measures are evidence-based and are being used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) for public reporting,” Tesina explains. By including them as a part of the plan of care for our cardiac patients, we can monitor and measure the overall rate of improvement in outcomes.”

According to Doug Welsh, M.D., a cardiologist at Faith Regional CardioVascular Institute, the focus on clinical improvement has been a team effort. “What is most gratifying is that by focusing on implementing these standardized treatment protocols, we have found a common rallying point for the entire cardiac clinical staff,” Dr. Welsh said. “The staff is more engaged and the patients are benefiting from improved care.”

The AMI measures used as criteria for the 2005 Leadership Award for clinical excellence include:

  • Aspirin prescribed at patient’s arrival.
  • Aspirin prescribed at time of patient’s discharge.
  • ACE inhibitor.
  • Smoking cessation advice/counseling provided to patient prior to discharge.
  • Beta blocker prescribed at time of patient’s arrival.
  • Beta blocker prescribed at time of patient’s discharge.
  • Amount of time until coronary angioplasty (PTCA) initiated.

Faith Regional achieved at least a 90 percent compliance with all rate-based indicators to qualify for the award. The median time for delivery of thrombolysis was equal to or less than 30 minutes. And, the median time until PTCA was initiated was equal to or less than 120 minutes. According to the National Registry of Myocardial Infarction (NRMI) data, Faith Regional’s average door-to-dilation time is 81 minutes.

“This award represents a milestone in our clinical improvement efforts and we will use it to reaffirm our commitment to our patients and to our community,” Tesina said.