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Hospital wins awards in heart, stroke care

by Cindy Abole
Public Relations
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 scientific guidelines.
“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 crucial.”
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 everyday.”
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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