Geisinger Medical Center Becomes First Comprehensive Heart Attack Center in U.S.

Geisinger Medical Center (GMC) is the country’s first hospital to receive The
Joint Commission/American Heart Association (AHA) Comprehensive Heart Attack Center

Already recognized by the organizations as a Mission Lifeline® Heart Attack Receiving Center
for its ability to quickly restore blood flow to the heart in patients with the most severe type of
heart attack, GMC has now set the national standard for care coordination among hospital
leadership, interventional cardiology, cardiac surgery, heart failure, advanced practice, nursing,
life support, emergency medicine, emergency medical services (EMS), care management,
pharmacy, and cardiac rehab teams.

Every second is critical when trying to preserve heart muscle and function in patients having
cardiac episodes, and this degree of full-team support means patients will receive the highest
level of care as quickly as it can be delivered.

Geisinger engaged the certification process to bring the best possible cardiac care close to
home for patients and members in central and northeastern Pennsylvania – another step
forward in the system’s vision of making better health easier for the communities it serves.

“GMC staff has shown they’re ready to treat a broad spectrum of chest-pain patients including
those who go to the emergency room (ER) with chest pain, go into cardiac arrest outside the
hospital, have heart attacks and need blood flow restored quickly, need open-heart procedures,
or need advanced therapies like extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for life support
or left ventricle assist device (LVAD) procedures for heart failure,” said interventional
cardiologist Thomas Scott, D.O, director of the cardiac catheterization lab and co-medical
director of the Comprehensive Heart Attack Center Certification program at the medical center.

Geisinger partnered with The Joint Commission on the pilot program for this new certification in
November, and a multi-disciplinary team was ready when the commission returned at the end of
July for a rigorous onsite review.

Reviewers with a nursing background evaluated records for patients who were currently
admitted or had been cared for at GMC since the beginning of the year and pushed staff on
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.

“Taking care of these patients is a team sport,” said Cinde Bower-Stout, R.N., M.H.A.,
cardiovascular quality manager and program director of the Comprehensive Heart Attack Center
Certification program at the medical center. “Our front-line staff are just as critical as our
specialists as they assess lab results for potential issues, administer pain-management
treatment, educate patients on what to expect when they get home and receive ongoing care,
round with our multi-disciplinary teams and help patients regain their strength with in-hospital
therapies in preparation for discharge.”

Geisinger was also noted for its ability to offer cardiac rehab in both in-person and virtual
formats to help patients recover after cardiac events.