Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - Winchester Medical Center Receives Highest Chest Pain Center Accreditation
Winchester Medical Center (WMC) recently received designation as an accredited Chest Pain Center with Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI). WMC is only the second hospital in Virginia and seventeenth in the nation to receive Cycle III designation, the highest national seal of approval given by the Society of Chest Pain Centers.

“This achievement of Cycle III accreditation is a testimony to the commitment and dedication of our clinical team and their passion for outstanding patient care,” said Al Pilong, President of Winchester Medical Center and Senior Vice President of Valley Health.

Each year, more than five million Americans visit hospitals with chest pain, and some 600,000 people die from heart disease.

Chest Pain Center accreditation ensures that patients who come to the WMC Emergency Department complaining of chest pain or discomfort are given the immediate treatment necessary to avoid additional heart damage. WMC’s treatment protocols incorporate the industry’s best practices and are focused on reducing the time to treatment in the critical early stages of a heart attack.

"We are proud to achieve this distinction, which has resulted from the ongoing commitment of a multi-disciplinary team of experienced providers," said Mary David, RN, Director of Cardiovascular Nursing with WMC’s Heart and Vascular Center. “Through our integrated efforts, we have strengthened the chain of survival for heart attack patients. By collaborating with 911 dispatch, emergency responders, and our staff and physicians in the Emergency Department, Cardiac Catheterization Lab and Coronary Care Unit, we have created a dynamic partnership that has improved heart attack response time and maximizes chances for recovery.”

As an SCPC-accredited facility WMC is committed to significantly reducing the mortality rate of heart attack patients by teaching the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a heart attack, reducing the time it takes to receive treatment, and increasing the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.

Restoring blood flow to the heart is imperative for patients suffering from a severe heart attack in which an artery is significantly blocked. WMC has implemented several process improvements to reduce “door to balloon” time, the average time elapsed from a patient’s arrival in the emergency department to angioplasty (or PCI) treatment to restore blood flow in the cardiac catheterization lab. Thanks to a cohesive team process, WMC's door-to-balloon time is currently averaging just over 60 minutes, well below the American Heart Association recommendation of 90 minutes or less.

Over the last year, WMC has worked closely with Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers in the region to implement an innovative 12-lead EKG program to improve the ability of medics in the field to communicate critical diagnostic information to the hospital to expedite interventions on their arrival.

"It’s been rewarding to create a partnership that really works,” said John Potter, MD, medical director of the WMC Emergency Department and coordinator of the 12-lead EKG initiative. “From the EMS response to the cardiac cath lab to our coronary care unit, we work with the same diligence and clinical excellence to ensure appropriate treatment as quickly as possible. This national recognition is an acknowledgement that we have implemented a specialized approach to providing outstanding cardiac care to our patients. We want our community to know they are in very caring and competent hands."

In addition to expediting life saving care after emergency dispatch and increasing the effectiveness of treatment, WMC also reaches out to educate the community on heart attack risk factors and recognizing and reacting to early signs of symptoms:
• Heart Aware – over the last year, more than 600 people have completed an online Heart Aware risk assessment. Those flagged as high risk are contacted by a nurse and offered a complementary heart risk screening.
• The Heart Attack Risk Program is a community screening offered regularly in seven locations in VA and WV which provides a snapshot of heart risk factors (including cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, blood pressure) and referral information to hundreds of people each year.
• Family & Friends CPR Anytime – since 90% of cardiac emergencies occur in the home, Valley Health has embraced the new American Heart Association adult and infant CPR training program designed to equip lay bystanders with basic lifesaving response skills. In the last two years over 600 area residents completed a brief hands-on CPR lesson and took home an inflatable mannekin, booklet, and DVD to refresh their skills and teach family members and neighbors.

The accreditation process involved on-site evaluations by a review team from the Society of Chest Pain Centers looking at the speed and effectiveness of patient care, continuous process improvement efforts, staff and physician competency and training, and community outreach programs to educate the public.

The Society of Chest Pain Centers is a patient centric nonprofit international professional organization focused on improving care for patients with acute coronary syndromes and other related maladies. For more information visit, or contact Robert Lipetz, Executive Director at (614) 442-5950 or