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Published on February 22, 2012

Mercy Medical Center earns Chest Pain Center re-accreditation

Accredited Chest Pain Center with PCIMercy Medical Center is pleased to announce it has earned full Chest Pain Center Accreditation with PCI from The Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC), an international not-for-profit organization committed to improving timely, quality care for cardiac patients. The PCI designation stands for Percutaneous Coronary Intervention, which means not only did Mercy meet the standards of a chest pain center but has also succeeded in meeting additional quality measures and volume of  patients that needed to have a stent inserted emergently because of a heart attack.

Mercy was the first hospital in Cedar Rapids to earn Chest Pain Center Accreditation, in 2008, and is one of just six hospitals in the state to attain this most recent distinction. 

To earn the re-accreditation, Mercy had to meet or exceed a wide set of stringent criteria and complete an on-site evaluation with SCPC. Mercy’s re-accreditation means the hospital has achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack.  

“Earning the Chest Pain Center re-accreditation recognizes Mercy’s commitment to quality, standardized and evidence-based care. While it is an exciting accomplishment to earn re-accreditation, the real beneficiaries are our patients,” says Dr. Matthew Aucutt, Medical Director of Mercy’s Emergency Department.

To become an Accredited Chest Pain Center, Mercy engaged in rigorous evaluation by SCPC for its ability to assess, diagnose, and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. This means that processes are in place at Mercy that meet strict criteria aimed at:

  • Reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment
  • Treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved
  • Monitoring patients when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack to ensure that they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital

“People tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack, and that’s a mistake,” says Dr. Cam Campbell, Medical Director of Mercy’s Cardiovascular Services. “The average patient arrives in the emergency department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms, but what they may not realize is that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome for the patient.”

Mercy’s state-of-the-art healthcare encompasses the entire continuum of care for heart patients and includes such focal points as dispatch, Emergency Medical System, emergency department, cath lab, quality assurance plan, and community outreach programs. By once again becoming an Accredited Chest Pain Center, Mercy has enhanced the quality of care for cardiac patients and has demonstrated its commitment to higher standards.

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with about 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain.

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