Spring Valley Hospital and its freestanding emergency department, the ER at Blue Diamond, earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association’s® Heart Check-Mark as a Certified Primary Heart Attack (PHAC) Center for the hospital and an Acute Heart Attack Ready (AHAR) Center for the ER at Blue Diamond.
Spring Valley Hospital and the ER at Blue Diamond underwent a rigorous, two-day on-site review in fall 2021. Spring Valley Hospital program members provided the surveyors with information and examples of evidence-based measures, including identification of heart attacks, appropriate treatment of heart attacks, perceptions of the patient’s experience and examples of heart attack education. Both the chest pain program at Spring Valley Hospital and the ER at Blue Diamond achieved excellence in patient care, short-times for treatment and patient satisfaction with their care.
“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our team kept their focus on meeting the needs of cardiac patients,” said Leonard Freehof, CEO of Spring Valley Hospital. “While COVID-19 took center stage, they concentrated on the big picture of cardiac health, collecting and analyzing data, adjusting policies and protocols for process improvement, and continually educating staff, physician, EMS and patients."
To better care for its patients, Spring Valley Hospital has a team that is available around the clock to care for cardiac patients. Today, the hospital offers advanced cardiovascular care including cardiac catheterization procedures such as balloon angioplasty and stents, carotid artery disease treatments such as endarterectomies and stents, open heart and valvular surgery, percutaneous valvular procedures such as MitraClips and Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement, pacemaker placements and diagnostic testing.
According to the American Heart Association, someone in the U.S. will have a myocardial infarction (heart attack) approximately every 40 seconds. Heart disease remains the number one cause of death in the U.S., according to 2019 data.
Heart attacks occur when the blood flow that delivers oxygen to the heart is either severely reduced or cut off completely due to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis occurs when the coronary arteries leading to the heart muscle become narrow, or are clogged, with a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances that collectively create plaque. Once the plaque breaks, a blood clot forms, blocking the blood flow to the heart. This leads to ischemia, when the heart muscle is deprived of oxygen and nutrients. When ischemia occurs, it’s called a heart attack or myocardial infarction (MI).
Other types of chest pain and heart attacks include angina, spontaneous coronary artery dissection (tearing of the coronary artery wall) and cardiac arrest. A heart attack can cause cardiac arrest, when the heart stops beating unexpectedly or working properly due to irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias like atrial or ventricular fibrillations). Another specific type of heart attack, referred to in layman’s language as a “widow-maker,” occurs when the left anterior descending artery (LAD) is almost completely or totally blocked. This causes the heart to stop beating normally and increases fatalities if not treated quickly.
The Joint Commission standards are developed in consultation with healthcare experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. The reviewer also conducted on-site observations and interviews.
“The Certified Primary Heart Attack Center and Acute Heart Attack Ready certifications recognize healthcare organizations committed to fostering continuous quality improvement in patient safety and quality of care,” says Mark Pelletier, RN, MS, Chief Operating Officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and Chief Nursing Executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend Spring Valley Hospital and the ER at Blue Diamond for using certification to reduce variation in its clinical processes and to strengthen its program structure and management framework for cardiac patients.
“We congratulate both medical facilities for this outstanding achievement,” says Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association. “This certification reflects their commitment to providing the highest quality of care for cardiac patients.”