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Second WNY hospital, just fifth statewide, to gain national designation

Buffalo, NY - March 23, 2009 - Erie County Medical Center today announced it received the Society of Chest Pain Centers' national accreditation as a Chest Pain Center with a percutaneous cardiac intervention (PCI) designation, just the fifth such hospital in New York State.

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain.

ECMC also becomes the 250th accredited Chest Pain Center with PCI designation in the nation, out of 5,759 hospitals. ECMC's accreditation is good until March 15, 2012.

"Providing rapid assessment of patients with chest pain and heart attacks fits in well with our longstanding trauma center designation and mind set.  Receiving the accreditation verifies our excellent team approach to this patient population", said Michael Manka, M.D., Emergency Department Director, at ECMC.    

"This rare, national designation is testimony first to the excellent heart attack care patients coming to ECMC receive, but also to the team - from the EMTs and physicians in outlying communities to the ECMC's emergency physicians,  cardiologists and nurses - that work so hard and so effectively to provide superior care," said Jody L. Lomeo, ECMC's CEO.    

PCI is the technical name for angioplasty, the process of clearing a blocked or narrowed coronary artery that could lead to a heart attack. In an angioplasty, an interventional cardiologist threads a probe, typically entering through the leg or shoulder, to clean out or suppress the arterial blockage. Studies show this method to be at least as effective as a coronary artery bypass graft, a surgical technique that essentially creates a route around the blockage. Narrowing or blockage is usually caused by cholesterol-laden plaques that form due to atherosclerosis.

The goal of the accreditation agency, the Society of Chest Pain Centers, is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of patients by teaching the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a possible heart attack, reduce the time that it takes to receive treatment, and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of that treatment.

The Columbus, Ohio-based society's accreditation process ensures hospitals meet or exceed quality-of-care measures in acute cardiac medicine. The accreditation process includes on-site evaluations by a review team from the society.

The criteria for accreditation include the following:

Ø  Emergency Department integration with the Emergency Medical System;

Ø  Emergency assessment of patients with symptoms; timely diagnosis and treatment;

Ø  Assessment of patients with low risk, and no assignable cause for their symptoms;

Ø  Process improvement;

Ø  Personnel, competencies, and training;

Ø  Organizational structure and commitment;

Ø  Functional facility design;

Ø  Community outreach.

The Chest Pain Center's protocol driven and systematic approach to patient management allows physicians to reduce time to treatment during the critical early stages of a heart attack, when treatments are most effective, and to better monitor patients when it is not clear whether they are having a coronary event. Such observation helps ensure that a patient is neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted.

With the rise of Chest Pain Centers came the need to establish standards designed to improve the consistency and quality of care provided to patients. The society's accreditation process insures centers meet or exceed quality-of-care measures in acute cardiac medicine.

The Chest Pain Center at ECMC demonstrated its expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding a wide set of stringent criteria and completing on-site evaluations by a review team from the Society of Chest Pain Centers.

In New York State, ECMC joins its Great Lakes Health System partner, Buffalo General Hospital, and three in the New York City-Long Island region with the PCI designation. Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Williamsville is accredited as well, but not with the PCI designation.

The society's approach to Chest Pain Center Accreditation is radically different from other certification processes that set specifications and then measure compliance. In contrast to more traditional certification models, its Accreditation Review Specialists are collaborative and provide feedback, education and resources to assist the facility in addressing gaps and improving processes. If facilities are successful improving the care of the ACS patient it supports the mission to reduce heart attack deaths.



The Society of Chest Pain Centers is a patient centric non-profit international professional organization focused upon improving care for patients with acute coronary syndromes and other related maladies. Established in 1998, the Society is dedicated to patient advocacy and focusing on ischemic heart disease. Central to its mission is the question, "What is right for the patient?" In answer, the Society promotes protocol based medicine, often delivered through a Chest Pain Center model to address the diagnosis and treatment of acute coronary syndromes, heart failure, and to promote the adoption of process improvement science by healthcare providers. To best fulfill this mission, the Society of Chest Pain Centers provides accreditation to facilities striving for optimum Chest Pain Center care. SCPC is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.


The ECMC Corporation includes an advanced academic medical center (ECMC) with 550 inpatient beds and 136 skilled-nursing-home beds, on- and off-campus health centers, more than 40 outpatient specialty care clinics and the Erie County Home, a skilled nursing facility. ECMC is the regional center for trauma, burn care, rehabilitation and is a major teaching facility for the University at Buffalo. Most ECMC physicians, dentists and pharmacists are dedicated faculty members of the university. More Western New York residents are choosing ECMC for exceptional patient care and customer service provided as a result of its Culture of Care. 


NEWS CONTACT: Tom Quatroche: 716-898-5503 / 4823 or tquatroc@ecmc.edu   

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