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Format: 04/22/2014
Format: 04/22/2014


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

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Award Identifies Hospitals Excelling in Steps to Prevent Heart Failure Complications, Hospitalizations

For the second consecutive year, Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) has been recognized by the American Heart Association (AHA) for the superior quality of its heart failure treatment program. The AHA’s Get With The Guidelines® Heart Failure Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award lauds AGH for meeting the highest of standards for heart failure care as outlined by the AHA and American College of Cardiology practice guidelines.

Approximately 6 million Americans suffer from heart failure. Statistics 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 Plus Quality Achievement Award winning medical centers are started on aggressive risk reduction therapies such as beta-blockers, and ACE inhibitors while in the hospital. They also receive heart healthy living counseling and 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 improves the long-term outcomes of patients with this disease,” said Srinivas Murali, MD, Director of AGH’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and Medical Director of the hospital’s Gerald McGinnis Cardiovascular Institute AGH heart failure specialist.

AGH’s heart failure team includes Raymond Benza, MD, Medical Director, Advanced Heart Failure, Transplantation, Mechanical Circulatory Support and Pulmonary Hypertension Program, George Sokos, DO, Amresh Raina, MD, and Manreet Kanwar, MD. Other key members of the team who help direct disease management efforts are Jessica Lazar, MPA, PA-C, Director, Cardiology Quality, and Education, Evelyn Ozanich, RN, nursing director, and Terri Hilliard, BSN, cardiology quality coordinator.

“Consistency is the truest hallmark of a program’s success and we are thrilled to once again 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, physician extenders, nurses, and other support staff, and the extraordinary teamwork they demonstrate to afford our heart failure patients the best care possible,” said Ms. Lazar.

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.

“Allegheny General is to be commended for its commitment to improving the quality of care for its 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, heart valve disease and coronary artery bypass surgery.

The hospital’s broad scope of advanced capabilities in the treatment of heart failure also offers patients access to cutting edge investigational therapies being explored in clinical trials, such as new medicines and implantable devices designed to more effectively monitor disease progression and treat conditions before they require hospitalization. AGH also recently became the first medical center in western Pennsylvania to use the latest generation total artificial heart to provide a bridge to transplantation for patients with end stage heart failure.


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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