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Memorial Medical Center-Lufkin receives award for quality heart care

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Memorial Medical Center-Lufkin recently received the Get With The Guidelines®–Heart Failure Gold Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association. The recognition signifies that Memorial reached an aggressive goal of treating heart failure patients with 85 percent compliance for at least two years to core standard levels of care outlined by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology.

Memorial is the only hospital in Lufkin to receive this prestigious award two years in a row.

Memorial’s quest for exceptional heart care expanded in 2009 with the opening of the Cardiovascular & Stroke Center, the area’s first dedicated heart and stroke care center. According to a recent study, Memorial was named the preferred hospital for heart care in the region. The Get With The Guidelines program is one of many examples of the dedication to providing quality care to heart failure patients, save lives, and ultimately, reduce healthcare costs by lowering the recurrence of heart attacks.

Get With The Guidelines is a quality improvement initiative that provides hospital staff with tools that follow proven evidence-based guidelines and procedures in caring for heart failure patients to prevent future hospitalizations.

Recently, a representative from the American Heart Association was on hand to present the award to members of the Memorial cardiovascular team and Gary Looper, president and CEO of Memorial.

“Memorial is dedicated to making our care for heart failure patients among the best in the country,” Looper said. “Implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines–Heart Failure program will help us accomplish this goal by making it easier for our professionals to improve the long-term outcome for our patients.”

Under Get With The Guidelines–Heart Failure, heart failure patients are started on aggressive risk reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, diuretics and anticoagulants while in the hospital. They also receive alcohol/drug use and thyroid management counseling as well as referrals for cardiac rehabilitation before being discharged.

“The full implementation of national heart failure guideline recommended care is a critical step in preventing recurrent hospitalizations and prolonging the lives of heart failure patients,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass. “Patients at Memorial Medical Center-Lufkin are getting the right care they need when they need it. That’s resulting in improved survival.”

Get With The Guidelines–Heart Failure helped Memorial’s staff develop and implement acute and secondary prevention guideline processes. The program includes quality-improvement measures such as care maps, discharge protocols, standing orders and measurement tools.

According to the American Heart Association, about 5.7 million people suffer from heart failure.  Statistics also show that, each year, 670,000 new cases are diagnosed and more than 277,000 people will die of heart failure.

Cutline: Memorial Medical Center-Lufkin recently received the American Heart Association/ Get With The Guidelines®-Heart Failure Gold Quality Achievement Award. Pictured (from left to right): Jana Rains, RN, nurse manager; Margie Brown, LVN; Linda Hamilton, Patient Advocate and Bed Control Coordinator; Rhonda Stephenson, RN, BSN, Clinical Quality Coordinator; Peggy Smith, Director of Quality and Systems Improvement for the American Heart Association; Ravinder Bachireddy, MD; Brenda Taylor, RN, BSN; and Gary Looper, President and CEO of Memorial.

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