Conemaugh Earns Top Awards in Heart, Stroke Treatment
Date Posted: Dec 13, 2017
Author: David Hurst, The Tribune-Democrat
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The oldest organization in the nation dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke has recognized Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center for getting patients suffering with those afflictions the treatment they need faster than ever before.

The medical center received a list of awards from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association for meeting strict benchmarks – in one case over a two-year period – to quickly provide the highest quality of care in the minutes after a patient is brought through the hospital’s doors.

“To successfully achieve this level of care, it takes commitment by hospital administrators, physicians, nurses and support staff,” said Gina Hrach, western Pennsylvania’s quality and systems improvement director for the American Heart and American Stroke associations. “It’s about patients with better outcomes, better quality of life – and it’s about Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center giving time, dedication and a sustained mission for quality care to every patient, every time.”

Several awards were presented to Memorial Medical Center’s program leaders Monday, including:

• The Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite level.

• The Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib, Participating Hospital recognition.

• The Heart Failure Silver Quality Achievement AwardMission: Lifeline Bronze

• Receiving Quality Achievement Award

• The Stroke Gold Plus Achievement, Atrial Fibrillation and Heart Failure: Silver Quality

Awards were all awarded through the American Heart Association’s “Get With The Guidelines” program. That initiative was developed to help hospital care teams in each field ensure the care they provide is aligned to the latest research-based guidelines in order to save lives and improve patient recovery times, according to officials with the heart and stroke associations.

The Stroke Gold Plus Quality honor requires hospitals to implement a list of specific measures to quickly identify ischemic strokes and then administer a clot-busting Food and Drug Administration-approved drug to patients within three hours of their arrival.

For Memorial Medical Center, it’s the culmination of several years worth of work, said Leslie Moran, a Conemaugh registered nurse and hospital’s neuroscience service line director.

And the hospital had to show it could continue to meet association guidelines at a rate of 85 percent or better over a two-year period, she said, noting the hospital previously received a silver award for meeting benchmarks over a 12-month period.

“A stroke patient loses 1.9 million neurons each minute stroke treatment is delayed.

“This recognition further demonstrates our commitment to delivering advanced stroke treatments to patients quickly and safely,” Director of Stroke Medicine Todd Lynn said.

The three other awards also reflected the hospital’s ability to consistently meet stricter guidelines, in this case, in the areas of severe heart attack and aFib treatments.

“Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our patients who suffer a heart attack, and the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us accomplish that goal through nationally respected clinical guidelines,” said Robert Stenberg, medical director of the hospital’s  cardiology division. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in cardiac care, and I am very proud of our team.”

Conemaugh Health System CEO Steven E. Tucker said the awards are worth celebrating.

The awards you heard about today ... those are some of the very top awards you can get as it relates to heart and stroke programs,” he said. “Our mission at Conemaugh Health System is making people healthier and that’s part of what this is – always putting patients first in what we do.”