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University Hospital Receives Chest Pain Center Accreditation April 20, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For more information, contact Rebecca Sylvester at 706/828-2394.

University Hospital Receives Chest Pain Center Accreditation

AUGUSTA, GA. (April 13, 2009) University Hospital has received full Cycle II Accreditation with Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) from the Accreditation Review Committee of the Society of Chest Pain Centers. Formerly known as angioplasty, PCI encompasses procedures performed in the cardiac catheterization lab to unblock a clogged artery leading to the heart.

The Chest Pain Center at University 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, according to Alyson Lulham, an Informatics Nurse Specialist in University’s Emergency Department, who coordinated the accreditation efforts.

“The accreditation process was extremely beneficial,” Ms. Lulham said. “It helped us sharpen our skills, and it also reaffirmed that University has all the processes and programs in place to deliver efficient, comprehensive care to heart attack patients.”

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

University Health Care System, President/CEO Larry Read expressed his appreciation to University’s Chest Pain team.

“I am delighted to receive this stamp of approval,” Mr. Read said. “These caregivers work hard every day to ensure that patients receive excellent care. This affirmation of their skills and expertise is very deserving and should be very comforting to our community that we have this high caliber heart team in place should they need it.”

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 ensures centers meet or exceed quality-of-care measures in acute cardiac medicine.

About University Hospital: University Hospital is a 581-bed community, not-for-profit hospital and the flagship of University Health care System. Offering a comprehensive range of services throughout 25 counties in Georgia and South Carolina, University leads the region in diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and is noted as a leader in obstetrical and gynecological care. More than 600 physicians practice at University Hospital, representing nearly every medical and surgical specialty.

Opened in January 2009, University’s Heart & Vascular Institute leads the region in diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation – all the roof of this state-of-the-art, $50 million facility. University’s Cancer Program was the only one in Georgia to receive the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer Outstanding Achievement Award.

University has been named the Consumer Choice Award winner in the Augusta area for 10 consecutive years for overall quality and image, and is the only hospital in Augusta to have the Magnet designation for nursing excellence.

For more information about University Health Care System visit or contact Rebecca Sylvester, Communications Manager, at (706) 828-2394 or

About the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC): 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.

For more information on the Society of Chest Pain Centers visit, or contact Robert Lipetz, Executive Director, at (614) 442-5950 or



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