When a person suffers from a heart attack, every minute matters. Quick and appropriate intervention and treatment can make a significant difference in a patient’s survival and long-term heart health after their recovery and release.
After approximately a year of training and preparation, Community Medical Center earned Chest Pain Center Accreditation from the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Accreditation Services, in January.
As an Accredited Chest Pain Center, we are committed to providing the best emergency heart care to the patients we serve. This means enhancing coordination among all providers involved in the patient’s care with key community partners, including Missoula Emergency Services and local EMS in surrounding communities to enhance coordination among everyone involved in a patient’s care. From the time 911 is called, to local EMS assessing the patient and transmitting a 12-lead ECG to the hospital from the field, to the ER team and then prompt care in the cardiac lab – this care coordination helps save lives and reduce heart damage. It also means establishing an evidenced-based standard of care for patients with heart disease, no matter where they present within the hospital. For example, a person who develops chest pain on a medical unit will receive the same standard of care as a person coming into our ER.
The collaborative work of our hospital and community partners to achieve ACC’s designation have distinguished our hospital as a leader in emergency care and heart health. Only an elite group of hospitals around the country hold this certification, and Community Medical Center is the only hospital in Western Montana with this accreditation. Our patients can feel confident in our ability to provide life-saving heart care.
Chest Pain Center Accreditation aligns well with our hospital’s focus on continual quality enhancement, because it is a collaborative, ongoing process that involves regular review of our cardiac care processes and procedures. Maintaining Chest Pain Center Accreditation requires the support and involvement of every member of our hospital team: admissions and triage, ER and hospital physicians, the critical care unit, cardiac rehab, discharge staff, and volunteers – everyone who interacts with our patients. All staff will undergo annual training in the signs of acute coronary syndrome and early treatment.
This accreditation offers long-term benefits to our team, as well. The processes we have adopted and ongoing review of our procedures will help us to work together more effectively as a patient care team. It helps us to identify operational efficiencies, which leads to better throughput and volumes. Finally, accreditation supports our relationships with local EMS and the community, by positioning our hospital a provider of quality heart care and a resource for the community about heart disease.
We are grateful for the hard work of our staff and first responders and proud of this accomplishment for the good of our community.