Raleigh General Hospital first and only hospital in West Virginia to receive Chest Pain Center Accreditation

June 15, 2009

Raleigh General Hospital today announced it is the first hospital in the state of West Virginia to  receive Chest Pain Center Accreditation from the Society of Chest Pain Centers. Raleigh General undertook a rigorous re-evaluation and refinement of heart care processes in order to integrate the industry's best practices and newest paradigms into its cardiac care services.

RGH's state-of-the-art heart care works seamlessly with area emergency medical services and other disciplines to ensure that patients get the treatment they need during the critical early stages of a heart attack.

As an Accredited Chest Pain Center, Raleigh General Hospital ensures that patients who come to the Emergency Department complaining of chest pain or discomfort are given the immediate treatment necessary to avoid as much heart damage as possible.

Protocol-based procedures developed by leading experts in cardiac care to reduce time to treatment in the critical early stages of a heart attack are part of Raleigh General Hospital's overall cardiac care service.

"People tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack, and that's a mistake," said Karen Bowling, CEO. "The average patient arrives in the Emergency Department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms, but what they don't know is that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome."

"We are so proud to be the first and only hospital in the state to receive full accreditation as a Chest Pain Center," said Raleigh General CEO, Karen Bowling.  "This is so important for our community because with the prevalence of heart disease in southern West Virginia, the people of our area need to be able to come to a hospital where they can have confidence in the clinical skills and abilities of the staff."

Bowling went to praise the team of clinical leaders assigned to direct the accreditation process.  "Chief Nursing Officer, Carol Miller and her clinical coordinators, including Donna Smyth, Critical Care Director and Gloria Krass, ED Director, did an outstanding job and we are grateful for their hard work and dedication to this important project."

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. The goal of the Society of Chest Pain Centers is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of these 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 treatment.

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 Raleigh General Hospital has 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.  Key areas in which a Chest Pain Center must demonstrate expertise include:

  • Integrating the emergency department with the local emergency medical system
  • Assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients quickly
  • Effectively treating patients with low risk for acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms
  • Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures
  • Ensuring Chest Pain Center personnel competency and training
  • Maintaining organizational structure and commitment
  • Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care
  • Supporting community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack