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Hospital wins awards in heart, stroke
by Cindy Abole
South Carolina heart and stroke patients are getting more of the
treatments and education they need to live healthier lives, thanks to
the hospital's commitment to a quality improvement program.
In February, the American Heart Association and American Stroke
Association recognized MUSC with a rare trifecta of success for their
Get With The Guidelines Program’s (GWTG) Bronze Performance Achievement
Awards. MUSC received three bronze awards in the areas of coronary
artery disease, stroke and heart failure. It also marks the first time
a South Carolina hospital was tapped with a GWTG award in all three
categories. MUSC was among 24 participating GWTG in-state and 1,451
national hospitalsto be recognized with these awards.
Maggie Bobo, director of quality improvement, Mid-Atlantic Affiliate of
the American Heart Association (AHA), presented the awards to
cardiovascular and stroke team leaders within an audience of hospital
administrators and clinical care managers Feb. 12. Natalia Luna Maffei
Corica, M.D., Cardiology outcomes manager, and Christine Zensen, R.N.,
MUSC Stroke program manager, accepted the awards.
“I want to recognize the commitment and diligence of our cardiology
team for its achievements in building a successful, quality program,”
said Peter Zwerner, M.D., assistant professor of Cardiology and
GWTG cardiovascular physician-champion. “Without these dedicated
people, we couldn’t have done it. It’s a comprehensive program that
continually improves over time because of the quality of care that we
provide and the way we value each patient. All patients should expect
this level of excellence in their care while at MUSC.”
In 2006, cardiology physicians, nurses and hospital quality outcomes
managers embraced the AHA’s evidenced-based concept using Web resources
and tools that helped hospitals and patients align with the latest
“Our goal is to provide quality, concurrent care for our heart disease
patients from admission to discharge and beyond,” Corica said. “To have
that level of physician support from the very beginning has been
Additionally, MUSC’s AHA’s distinction earned them the South Carolina
Department of Health and Environmental Control Distinguished GWTG
Hospital of the Year award, which was presented Feb. 23.
Corica and Zwerner work with a team of dedicated specialists
established in December 2006 and includes program nurses Linda Easler,
Sandra Coons, Caroline Vaughn, nurse educator Christine
Mancini and Cardiology Patient Care Unit (PCU) medical director
and Acute Coronary Syndrome director Eric Powers, M.D.
Today, the program provides the best quality of care and outcome for
heart failure patients, improved lifestyles and a marked decrease in
re-admission rates. The program will now extend hospitalwide where team
nurses follow and treat patients on all cardiology floors.
Members of MUSC’s Stroke Program team and hospital staff also reacted
to the AHA/ASA award news.
“It’s an honor to receive this award on behalf of MUSC and everyone
committed to creating MUSC’s stroke program,” said Zensen, upon
receiving the award. “They say it takes a village to raise a child, but
it takes a whole hospital to raise a stroke program. This award is a
marker of excellence and symbolizes what each of us strive to achieve
In 2006, a multidisciplinary team of health care specialists, led by
neuro-intensivist and program champion Julio Chalela, M.D., helped form
the medical center’s stroke steering committee. Within a year, the
program hired Zensen as program coordinator, thus initiating a
challenging process for the hospital to achieve national accreditation
in stroke care excellence. Last July, MUSC won primary stroke center
certification from the Joint Commission.
“This is an exciting time for stroke care at MUSC,” Zensen said,
thanking dozens of hospitalwide staff, units and departments involved
in the certification amd GWTG effort. “Our vision is for MUSC to become
the Southeast’s premier stroke center by providing quality,
comprehensive care to our patients following the American Stroke
Association guidelines. From what we’ve achieved so far, we are well on
our way to accomplishing that.”
As a result of the AHA awards, MUSC’s achievements will be promoted in
future scientific sessions, February’s International Stroke Conference,
Stroke and Circulation publications and the July issue of U.S. News
& World Report’s annual top hospitals issue.
Friday, March 21, 2008
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