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Format: 04/20/2014
Format: 04/20/2014


Allegheny Valley Hospital Achieves New Status as an Accredited Chest Pain Center

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Natrona Heights, Pa., - Allegheny Valley Hospital (AVH) announced today that it has received Chest Pain Center Accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC), an international organization dedicated to eliminating heart disease as the number one cause of death worldwide.

One of two hospitals in southwestern Pennsylvania to hold this distinction, AVH treats nearly 2,000 patients a year for chest pain. “We are extremely gratified to earn recognition as an accredited chest pain center. A swift diagnosis of heart attack and initiation of treatment can make a tremendous difference in a patient’s outcome. This new accreditation assures our community that the protocols and processes in place at AVH for patients suffering from chest pain meet the highest of clinical standards, expediting care and saving lives,” said Ned Laubacher, President and CEO.

Hospitals that have received SCPC accreditation have achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack. They emphasize the importance of having standard diagnostic and treatment programs in place to provide more efficient and effective evaluations of patient conditions as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment for chest pain and other heart attack symptoms.

To become an Accredited Chest Pain Center, AVH engaged in rigorous evaluation by SCPC for its ability to assess, diagnose, and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. To the community served by AVH this means that processes are in place that meet strict criteria aimed at:

• Reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment
• Treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when heart muscle can be preserved
• 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

The staff at AVH worked closely with the Emergency Department, Cardiology, Pharmacy, Internal Medicine and other departments throughout the hospital to meet these high standards. Key areas in which AVH demonstrated expertise and a commitment to quality patient care include:

• Integrating the Emergency Department with the local emergency medical system;
• Assessing, diagnosing and treating patients quickly;
• Continually improving processes and procedures;
• Ensuring staff competency and training;
• Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care;
• Supporting community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack.

Even with advancements at the hospital, patients must still recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. According to John Balacko, MD, AVH cardiologist and Medical Director for Chest Pain Center at AVH, people tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack.

“That’s a mistake. The average patient arrives in the emergency department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms. 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.”

“Receiving this accreditation is a great achievement for our team which worked tirelessly to ensure we have all the necessary protocols in place to quickly treat patients experiencing a coronary event. It’s also consistent with our mission and commitment to providing quality patient care,” said Laubacher.

About Allegheny Valley Hospital
Allegheny Valley Hospital (AVH) is a 228-bed community-based medical/surgical hospital serving 200,000 residents in the Allegheny and Kiski Valleys. Annually, AVH admits nearly 10,000 patients and logs approximately 35,000 emergency visits, over 17,000 Urgent Care Center visits and 6,100 surgical procedures. AVH has been recognized for providing the highest quality health care by independent national rating organizations. More than 270 physicians and 1,100 employees share the hospital’s commitment to excellence. For over 100 years, AVH has provided health care, education and support to the community and today consists of a hospital campus in Natrona Heights and Outpatient Care Centers in New Kensington, Natrona Heights and Vandergrift. AVH is also a member of the West Penn Allegheny Health System, providing our patients access to a leading academic medical system with an international reputation for excellence and innovation in the care of patients.
For more information on Allegheny Valley Hospital contact Linda Dalak, Communications, at 724-226-7021 or ldalak@wpahs.org.
About the Society of Chest Pain Centers
Established in 1998, SCPC is a patient-centric nonprofit international organization focused on improving care for patients with heart disease. Central to SCPC’s mission is the question, “What is right for the patient?” In response, SCPC promotes protocol-based medicine, often delivered through a chest pain center model, to address the diagnosis and treatment of acute coronary syndrome and heart failure and to promote the adoption of process improvement science by healthcare providers. To best fulfill this mission, SCPC provides accreditation and education to facilities striving for optimum cardiac care. SCPC is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. For more information on SCPC and accreditation opportunities, visit www.scpcp.org, or call toll free 1-877-271-4176.

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