Bon Secours reaccredited

Published 9:23 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Heart-attack response earns high marks

After three years ago becoming America’s only freestanding emergency department to receive the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care accreditation, Bon Secours Health Center at Harbour View has been reaccredited as a chest pain center.

The accreditation is in coordination with Maryview Medical Center, of which Harbour View is a division.

To earn the accreditation, the facilities had to demonstrate that primary percutaneous cardiovascular intervention is available to patients around the clock.

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“What it all boils down to,” Carl Wentzel, medical director for the emergency departments, said of PCI, “is the current state-of-the-art treatment for heart attack.”

A wire containing a tiny balloon is inserted into an artery past the blockage, he explained. The balloon is inflated to enable or assist blood flow.

Wentzel said the procedure often also involves a stent — a narrow tube inserted into the artery to keep it open.

“Every hospital treats people with chest pain and heart attack,” Wentzel said. “What this accreditation means is that Harbour View has met all the national standards of excellence in care in this area.

“We made it three years ago, and at that time we were the first freestanding emergency department to receive this certification.”

Nurse Manager Val Sommer said Harbour View is now one of only two freestanding emergency departments in the nation with the accreditation.

For Harbour View, the re-accreditation means it has demonstrated the detailed transfer protocols that earned it the accreditation in the first place are being used and are working, Wentzel said.

According to Wentzel, 20 to 25 percent of patients at Harbour View start on the protocols. “They come in and think they might be having a heart attack,” he said.

“We work that protocol every day, because we don’t want to miss that heart-attack patient. That process is running every day for (about) 20 percent of our patients.”

Sommer said that in the past year, 10 to 12 patients have been transported from Harbour View to Maryview, because they were actually having a heart attack.

According to a news release, the relevant protocols at Harbour View include written agreements with EMS ground and air transport agencies, as well as receiving centers for patients with primary PCI.

For re-accreditation, the North Suffolk emergency department was also required to demonstrate that its physicians have the expertise to initiate treatments, including “reperfusion strategies” — to restore flow through blocked arteries — and to “communicate with all institutions involved in the care” of heart-attack patients.

“Harbour View really does do world-class care, and this is an example of that in cardiovascular care,” Wentzel said.

“From a larger perspective, it reflects the commitment we have at Harbour View to delivering excellent care. We really try to be at the cutting-edge.”