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Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center earns highest-level recognition for chest pain care

Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center has received the American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) National Cardiovascular Data Registry Chest Pain – Myocardial Infarction (MI) Registry Platinum Performance Award for 2021. The medical center is one of only 212 hospitals nationwide to earn this honor—the highest given by the ACC.

“This award is a credit to the work of our local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers, our Emergency Department team, our cardiac catheterization laboratory team, our physicians, nurses and all caregivers in helping identify chest pain patients quickly and get them care quickly,” said cardiologist Dr. Guy Piegari Jr., of Penn State Health Medical Group – Berks Cardiology, who has worked with St. Joseph Medical Center for 36 years.

The Platinum Performance Award demonstrates the medical center’s sustained achievement in the Chest Pain – MI Registry for two consecutive years, 2019 and 2020. It is the first year that St. Joseph Medical Center has earned platinum-level recognition.

The award recognizes hospitals’ performance in 15 performance metrics, including:

  • Delivering a 12-lead electrocardiogram within 10 minutes of patient’s arrival
  • Accomplishing a door-to-balloon time of less than 60 minutes
  • Completing first medical contact to intervention in less than 90 minutes
  • Discharging patients with necessary medications (aspirin, beta blocker, an angiotensin receptor blocker or ace inhibitor, and a high-intensity statin)
  • Providing a cardiac rehabilitation referral

“Our team achieved 100% compliance in door-to-balloon time, medical contact-to-intervention time and cardiac rehabilitation referrals,” Piegari said. “We also achieved 100% compliance with all post-heart attack medications for patients who could safely tolerate them.”

“We’ve always been at the forefront of innovation and technique with regard to cardiovascular disease,” Piegari says. “I’m very proud of what our team has accomplished for heart patients in and around Berks County, and for the way our local EMS squads have partnered with us to make these outcomes happen.”

Full participation in the MI registry engages hospitals in a robust quality improvement process using data to drive improvements in adherence to guideline recommendations and overall quality of care provided to heart attack patients.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that almost 700,000 Americans suffer a heart attack each year. A heart attack occurs when a blood clot in a coronary artery partially or completely blocks blood flow to the heart muscle. Treatment guidelines include administering aspirin to patients upon arrival and discharge, restoring blood flow to the blocked artery in a timely manner, providing counseling on smoking cessation and prescribing cardiac rehabilitation, among others.

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