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UPMC Altoona Achieves New Status as Accredited Chest Pain Center

 ALTOONA, March 31, 2015 — UPMC Altoona has received Chest Pain Center Accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC), an international not-for-profit organization that transforms cardiovascular care by helping facilities create communities of excellence that bring together quality, cost and patient satisfaction.
To become an Accredited Chest Pain Center, UPMC Altoona 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 UPMC Altoona, this means 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 the integrity of the 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
 
Hospitals with 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 standardized diagnostic and treatment programs that provide more efficient and effective evaluation, as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment of patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms. They also serve as a point of entry into the health care system to evaluate and treat other medical problems, and they help to promote a healthier lifestyle in an attempt to reduce the risk factors for heart attack.
 
“People tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack, and that’s a mistake,” says Kristen Downs, BSN, RN, RN cardiac coordinator in UPMC Altoona’s Quality Management Department. “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.”
 
UPMC Altoona’s state-of-the-art health care encompasses the entire continuum of care for the heart patient and includes such focal points as dispatch, emergency medical system, emergency department, cath lab, UPMC Altoona’s observation services, quality management, and various community outreach programs.
 
“By becoming an Accredited Chest Pain Center,” says Jerry Murray, UPMC Altoona president, “UPMC Altoona has enhanced the quality of care for the cardiac patient and has demonstrated its commitment to higher standards.”
 
Participants at the news conference:
• Jerry Murray, president, UPMC Altoona and Bedford Memorial
• Linnane Batzel, M.D., senior vice president of Quality/ Medical Affairs
• George Jabbour, M.D., UPMC Altoona Blair Medical Associates Cardiology, medical director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at UPMC Altoona and physician champion of the Chest Pain Center
• Matthew Bouchard, M.D., chairman of UPMC Altoona Emergency Services and medical director of the Chest Pain Center
• Kristen Downs, RN cardiac coordinator, UPMC Altoona’s Quality Management Department
• Ron McConnell, chief operating officer, UPMC Altoona
• Chris Rickens, senior vice president and chief nursing officer

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