Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center honored for excellence in heart failure care
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center has been honored by the American Heart Association for its commitment to and success in implementing a higher standard of care for heart failure patients.
The AHA presented UCLA with the Get With the Guidelines–Heart Failure Silver Plus Performance Achievement Award at the organization's 2010 Scientific Sessions meeting in Chicago on Nov. 15.
The recognition signifies that UCLA has reached impressive benchmarks in implementing the evidence-based guidelines and procedures of the AHA's Get With the Guidelines (GWTG) quality-improvement initiative, which provides hospitals with tools for caring for heart failure patients that have been shown to improve outcomes, prevent future hospitalizations and prolong lives.
Under GWTG–Heart Failure treatment guidelines, heart failure patients are started on guideline-recommended, life-prolonging therapies such as ACE inhibitors, beta blockers and aldosterone antagonists in the hospital. They also receive heart-failure disease management counseling, as well as referrals for physician follow-up visits, within seven days before their discharge from the hospital.
"Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is dedicated to being among the best hospitals in the country in the care of heart failure patients," said Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, UCLA's Eliot Corday Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Science and director of the Ahmanson–UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center. "This recognition demonstrates that we are on the right track and will continue with effective implementation of the American Heart Association's Get With the Guidelines–Heart Failure program."
To receive the award, hospitals must have an 85 percent or higher adherence to all GWTG performance-achievement indicators for at least 12 consecutive months. During the same consecutive reporting period, they must also demonstrate a 75 percent or higher compliance with four of nine GWTG quality measures, which are initiatives to measure and improve the quality of patient care and outcomes.
"The full implementation of national heart failure guideline-recommended care is a critical step in preventing recurrent hospitalizations and prolonging and improving the lives of heart failure patients," said Dr. Lee H. Schwamm, chair of the GWTG national steering committee and director of telestroke and acute stroke services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. "The goal of the American Heart Association's Get With the Guidelines program is to help hospitals like Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center implement appropriate evidence-based care and protocols that will reduce disability and the number of deaths in these patients. Published scientific studies are providing us with more and more evidence that Get With the Guidelines works."
The GWTG–Heart Failure initiative helps the staff at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center develop and implement heart failure care processes, said Fonarow, who is the immediate past chair and a current member of the GWTG national steering committee. The program provides hospitals with a Web-based patient-management tool, decision support, a robust registry, real-time benchmarking capabilities and other performance-improvement methodologies with the goal of enhancing patient outcomes and saving lives.
This high-tech, evidence-based approach enables UCLA to improve the quality of care it provides heart failure patients, to save lives and, ultimately, to reduce health care costs by avoiding re-hospitalizations.
According to the American Heart Association, about 5.7 million people suffer from heart failure. Each year, some 670,000 new cases are diagnosed and more than 292,200 people will die from heart failure.