Wilkes Regional Medical Center receives Chest Pain Center Accreditation

Staff report

August 20, 2013

Wilkes Regional Medical Center has been awarded full accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC).

Hospitals that have received the coveted 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.

“We are thrilled to have received such a prestigious accreditation. This undoubtedly will improve the quality of care and services provided at Wilkes Regional Hospital,” said Dr. William Scarpa, Jr., a cardiologist in the Heart Center of Wilkes Regional.

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain.

“Many of the people in our region battle heart disease. We are very proud to be forefront in providing the best care available to our patients who require cardiac care,” said Gene Faile, President and CEO of Wilkes Regional Medical Center.

SCPC’s goal is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of these patients by teaching the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a possible heart attack, reduce the time that it takes to receive treatment, and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.

The Accredited Chest Pain Center’s protocol-driven and systematic approach to patient management allows physicians to reduce time to treatment during the critical early stages of a heart attack, when treatments are most effective, and to better monitor patients when it is not clear whether or not they are having a coronary event. Such observation helps ensure that patients are neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted.

With the increase in chest pain centers came the need to establish standards designed to improve the consistency and quality of care provided to patients. SCPC’s accreditation process ensures that centers meet or exceed quality-of-care measures in acute cardiac medicine.

The Accredited Chest Pain Center at Wilkes Regional Medical Center has demonstrated its expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding a wide set of stringent criteria and undergoing an on-site review by a team of SPCP’s accreditation review specialists.

“We are very excited about the Chest Pain Accreditation,” said Dr. Jonathan Kelly, Emergency Medicine Regional Medical Director for Wake Forest Baptist Health. “This is an outstanding accomplishment for the hospital and will further enhance our ability to evaluate and treat patients with chest pain.”

Key areas in which an Accredited Chest Pain Center must demonstrate expertise include the following:

Integrating the emergency department with the EMS service

Assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients quickly

Effectively treating patients with low risk for acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms

Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures

Ensuring the competence and training of Accredited Chest Pain Center personnel

Maintaining organizational structure and commitment

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

Dr. Julian Thomas, a cardiologist in the Heart Center of Wilkes Regional, has been very involved in the Chest Pain Accreditation process.

“A highly functioning chest pain center, when utilized correctly by health care providers and technicians, all who would strive to keep themselves up to date on the latest, cutting-edge protocols for treating heart disease, is essential for providing smart, efficient, courteous, evidence-based care that helps risk stratify patients along the full spectrum of treatments ranging from aggressive cardiac interventions all the way to reassurance with early discharge,” said Dr. Thomas.