Geisinger’s Northeast Hospitals Certified as Comprehensive Heart Attack Centers

Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center (GWV) and Geisinger Community Medical Center (GCMC) recently became the second and third hospitals in the country to earn The Joint Commission/American Heart Association (AHA) Comprehensive Heart Attack Center Certification, joining Geisinger Medical Center (GMC) in Danville in establishing a national precedent for coordination among care teams who treat patients on the heart attack spectrum.

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked, depriving the heart of oxygen. Much of the damage to heart muscle takes place in a short period of time after a heart attack, so timely care is critical for preserving heart function.

“No one expects to have a heart attack, but when it happens, we offer extraordinary care close to home for our patients and members,” said Yassir Nawaz, M.D., director of interventional cardiology and co-medical director of the Comprehensive Heart Attack Center Certification program for Geisinger’s northeast region. “With three certified medical centers, we’re taking a full-team approach to diagnosing and treating chest pain patients in northeastern and central Pennsylvania.”

At GWV, GCMC and GMC, chest pain patients can expect the highest level of care delivered as quickly as possible.

Already recognized as Joint Commission/AHA Mission Lifeline® Heart Attack Receiving Centers for their ability to treat the most severe type of heart attack by restoring blood flow to the heart, GWV and GCMC have shown their commitment to making better health easier for patients and members in northeastern Pennsylvania through achieving certification. They stand ready to care for all chest pain patients, including those who:

To accomplish this, hospital leaders, interventional cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, advanced practitioners, nurses, emergency medicine physicians, heart failure specialists, life support specialists, emergency medical services (EMS) providers, pharmacists and care managers must collaborate closely to accommodate a patient’s unique care needs. After a heart attack, cardiac rehab therapists are an integral part of the team as well.

  • Go to the emergency room with chest pain
  • Have heart attacks and need blood flow restored quickly
  • Go into cardiac arrest outside of a hospital
  • Need open-heart surgery
  • Need advanced therapies for heart failure or life support

“Whether a patient comes in with mild chest pain or having a serious cardiac event, it’s all hands on deck,” said Cinde Bower-Stout, R.N., M.H.A., cardiovascular quality manager and director of the Comprehensive Heart Attack Center Certification program at Geisinger. “Day-to-day frontline care after a heart attack is just as important. Lab assessment, pain management and preparation for discharge and self-care through education and therapy are all key factors in patients achieving and maintaining good quality of life.”

Rigorous onsite review at both medical centers included evaluation of records for patients who were currently admitted or had been cared for since the beginning of the year and assessment of quality measures including leadership engagement, collaboration with EMS, medical decision making, systemwide approach to quality improvement, performance improvement projects and engagement with pharmacy at the bedside.

“Comprehensive Heart Attack Center Certification recognizes health care organizations committed to fostering continuous quality improvement in patient safety and quality of care,” said Mark Pelletier, R.N., M.S., chief operating officer, Accreditation and Certification Operations, and chief nursing executive, The Joint Commission. “We commend Geisinger for having the first three hospitals to reduce variation in clinical processes and strengthen program structure and management framework for cardiac patients.”