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Wise Regional earns renewal of Chest Pain Center accreditation

By Messenger Staff | Published Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC) has renewed Wise Regional Health System’s accreditation as a Chest Pain Center with PCI (Percutaneous Coronary Intervention) it was announced this week.

SCPC-accredited facilities demonstrate expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with heart attack symptoms. The accreditation process includes rigorous evaluation of Wise Regional’s ability to assess, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.

Wise Regional has been continuously accredited by the SCPC since 2011. Facilities are evaluated every three years to determine whether their accreditation will be extended.

Accreditation acknowledges WRHS works to provide its community with the best possible cardiac care, by:

  • reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment;
  • treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved; and
  • monitoring patients when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack to ensure that they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital.

“This was our second time to be evaluated for reaccreditation. The bar is raised each cycle,” said Lee Ann Cummings, director of Wise Regional’s Emergency Department. “We are excited that the SCPC once again recognized the effort we’ve put into caring for our patients and educating our community.”

WRHS offers a comprehensive cardiac program with many of the same services and technologies patients would find at Metroplex facilities. In 2013 physicians performed nearly 1,000 catheterization procedures and more than 65 open-heart surgeries, including several minimally invasive procedures, at Wise Regional.

Wise Regional also continues to look for opportunities to improve treatment for cardiac patients. Earlier this year, WRHS became the second hospital system in the country to use the STOP STEMI application – a cellphone app designed to help efficiently contact and connect health care professionals when a patient experiences a heart attack known as a STEMI.

The recent SCPC accreditation survey emphasized community education. Wise Regional is engaged in a campaign focusing on Early Heart Attack Care (EHAC). The national EHAC campaign was developed by Dr. Raymond Bahr, who is also the founder of SCPC and aims to educate community members about the early symptoms of heart attacks, so they can seek medical intervention sooner.

In February, Wise Regional hosted the third annual Heart Health Expo with an emphasis on Early Heart Attack Care.

“People tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack, and that’s a mistake,” said Cummings. “The average patient arrives in the emergency department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms, but what they don’t realize is that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome for the patient.”

Staff members from the admissions and emergency departments, critical care unit, cardiac catheterization laboratory, cardiac rehabilitation, and medical and surgical unit, as well as Wise County EMS, were actively involved with preparing for the accreditation visit. Even the hospital’s mascot, Hooty the Healthwise Owl, participated by handing out EHAC-themed magnets on March 7, the day of the survey.

Wise Regional will be up for its next renewal in 2017.

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