Excellence in cardiac care leads to elite accreditation

OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center is the first medical center in Rockford, the fourth in Illinois and the 90th in the nation to achieve accreditation as a Chest Pain Center. This elite, three-year accreditation was announced by the Society of Chest Pain Centers on Dec. 28, 2004.

Accreditation is earned by medical centers with emergency departments that are able to provide a full spectrum of emergency cardiac care, rapid diagnosis and fast track treatment. A multidisciplinary team composed of members of the OSF Saint Anthony Regional Heart Institute, Trauma and Emergency Services and medical center administrative staff worked to obtain Chest Pain Center status.

“People benefit by quickly learning why they are having chest pain,” said Dr. Eric Benink, medical director of OSF Saint Anthony Trauma and Emergency Services. “OSF Saint Anthony Emergency Department physicians are prepared to make rapid clinical assessments to determine if people need to be taken directly to our cardiac catheterization lab for fast treatment or have electrocardiogram readings and symptoms closely monitored.”

The Level I Trauma Center at OSF Saint Anthony serves more than 20 hospitals in northern Illinois stretching from the suburbs of Chicago to the Mississippi River, as well as southern Wisconsin. Lifeline Helicopter service, which is based at OSF Saint Anthony, made a record 674 transports during 2004, and the newly expanded and remodeled emergency department treated more than 32,000 people. Physicians of the Regional Heart Institute perform and train their counterparts from major medical centers in a variety of cardiac procedures. OSF Saint Anthony is home to an all digital cardiac catheterization lab, and its surgeons perform off-pump cardiac bypass surgery.

Bedside analysis of blood tests, rapid electrocardiogram testing, as well as 24-hour diagnostic and interventional cardiac services help speed diagnosis and treatment. Faster treatment is a key to saving heart muscle, which in turn leads to better outcomes and shorter hospital stays, says Dr. Benink.

After a written application was completed, an onsite review team from the Society visited OSF Saint Anthony. The Society found OSF Saint Anthony demonstrated its leadership in both providing and improving cardiac care in the following ways:

Working with area emergency service providers to improve care for patients suffering from cardiac symptoms who are being transported to the medical center;

Implementing an emergency assessment process to care for those with acute cardiac syndromes;

Creating an observation program to monitor and evaluate low- and moderate-risk patients being treated in the Emergency Department;

Designing and equipping the Emergency Department to function as a chest pain evaluation center that provides optimum care;

Ensuring physicians and nurses are specially trained to care for patients with acute cardiac syndromes;

Maintaining continuous quality improvement programs to evaluate and improve care;

Having administrators, medical staff, nurses and support staff dedicated to supporting the Chest Pain Center accreditation; and

Sponsoring community outreach programs that include free screenings for total cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure.

“This accreditation is very meaningful to me and important to the community,” said Ken Stevens, M.D., a cardiologist affiliated with the Regional Heart Institute and member of Rockford Cardiology Associates. “It means the physicians of the Regional Heart Institute and OSF Saint Anthony Trauma and Emergency Services are dedicated to maintaining a cardiovascular program that exceeds nationally established criteria for excellence. It also demonstrates our dedication to the community to provide outstanding cardiac care in all areas of the medical center.”

The Society of Chest Pain Centers is a patient-centered professional society with a focus on heart disease and a mission of educating the public and health care professionals on the importance of rapid diagnosis and treatment for those experiencing possible symptoms of acute coronary syndromes. It is guided by a multidisciplinary team of leading clinical experts in the areas of cardiology, emergency medicine and nursing. Its Web site is www.scpcp.org.

OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, a Level I Trauma Center, is owned and operated by OSF HealthCare, an affiliate corporation of The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, Peoria. The Medical Center’s Web site is www.osfhealth.com. For the third year in a row, in a survey conducted by National Research Corporation, people in Northern Illinois cited OSF Saint Anthony for providing quality care.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!