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Each year, the lives of thousands of people across the country are saved because someone made the choice to become an organ donor. In April, Allegheny Health Network is honored to celebrate National Donate Life Month and pay tribute to all of those who have bestowed the precious gift of life to another through organ donation. Visit AHNdonate.org to learn more and register to be an organ donor.



Format: 04/19/2014
Format: 04/19/2014


Allegheny General Hospital Recognized by American Heart Association for Quality of Heart Failure Program

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) has received the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 2011 Get With The Guidelines® Heart Failure Gold Quality Achievement Award. This award recognizes that AGH has met the highest of standards for heart failure treatment as outlined by the AHA and American College of Cardiology’s practice guidelines. 

The AHA estimates that approximately 5.7 million people suffer from heart failure. Statistics also show that 670,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and more than 277,000 people die annually of the disease. In western Pennsylvania and in the rest of the country, heart failure is the leading cause of hospitalization for those over the age of 65.

Get With The Guidelines is a quality improvement initiative that provides hospital staff with tools that follow proven evidence-based guidelines and procedures in caring for heart failure patients to prevent future hospitalizations.

Heart failure patients treated at AHA Gold Quality Achievement Award winning medical centers are started on aggressive risk reduction therapies such as beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, and diuretics while in the hospital. They also receive heart healthy living counseling as well as referrals for cardiac rehabilitation as needed before being discharged. To earn the Award, hospitals must demonstrate 85% compliance of these aggressive core standards for at least 24 months.

“At Allegheny General Hospital, our multi-disciplinary medical team is committed to providing heart failure patients with well-coordinated, comprehensive care that meets the highest of national standards. The AHA’s Get With the Guidelines program is a benchmark for those standards that clearly improve the long-term outcomes of patients with heart failure in our country,” said George Sokos, DO, AGH heart failure specialist.

In addition to Dr. Sokos, AGH’s heart failure team is led by Srinivas Murali, MD, Director of AGH’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and Medical Director of the hospital’s Gerald McGinnis Cardiovascular Institute, Raymond Benza, MD, Medical Director, Advanced Heart Failure, Transplantation, Mechanical Circulatory Support and Pulmonary Hypertension Program, Jessica Lazar, MPA, PA-C, Director, Cardiology Quality, Research and Education, Evelyn Ozanich, RN, nurse supervisor, and Terri Hilliard, BSN.

“We are excited to join a select group of leading US medical centers in being recognized by the AHA for the high quality of our heart failure program. This honor is a testament to the outstanding clinical skills, innovation and dedication of our physicians, nurses, and other support staff, and the extraordinary teamwork they demonstrate to afford our heart failure patients the best care possible,” said Dr. Murali.

Get With The Guidelines helps hospital’s develop and implement acute and secondary prevention guideline processes. The program includes quality-improvement measures such as care maps, discharge protocols, standing orders and measurement tools. The quick and efficient use of guideline tools enables hospitals to enhance the quality of care provided to heart failure patients, which not only saves lives but ultimately reduces healthcare costs as well by lowering the recurrence of heart attacks and hospitalizations.

“The full implementation of national heart failure guideline recommended care is a critical step in preventing recurrent hospitalizations and prolonging the lives of heart failure patients,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“The goal of the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines program is to help hospitals implement appropriate evidence-based care and protocols that will reduce disability and the number of deaths in these patients. Published scientific studies are providing us with more and more evidence that Get With The Guidelines works. Patients are getting the right care they need when they need it. That’s resulting in improved survival.”

Allegheny General Hospital’s Gerald McGinnis Cardiovascular Institute offers comprehensive, state-of-the-art care for the complete spectrum of cardiovascular disease. The Institute’s nationally recognized medical staff includes specialists in general and interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, leading edge diagnostic cardiology – including cardiovascular MRI, CT and 3-D echocardiography - women’s heart care, heart failure and pulmonary hypertension, heart transplantation and mechanical circulatory support, vascular surgery and wound care, thoracic surgery, heart valve disease and coronary artery bypass surgery.


About Get With The Guidelines
Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. For more information, visit heart.org/quality.


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