The Society of Chest Pain Centers announced last week that Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Center has earned the designation as an accredited chest pain center, the first and only hospital in Niagara County with such a prestigious and medically important designation.
The SCPC, an international organization dedicated to eliminating heart disease as the No. 1 cause of death worldwide, provided the designation after a full review of process, procedures and other avenues of care provided to patients by Mount St. Mary's.
"This accreditation is evidence of the Mount St. Mary's commitment to treating cardiac patients with the highest level of care," said Dr. Benjamin Rueda, chief of cardiology, who led the team of health care professionals who helped earn the designation. "People tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack, and that's a mistake. The average patient arrives in the emergency department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms, but what they don't realize is that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome for the patient. They need to call 9-1-1 and get to Mount St. Mary's."
Mount St. Mary's CEO Judith Maness added, "the team has worked diligently to demonstrate to the SCPC surveyors that we are ready to provide a high level of cardiac care for our community and the community is the beneficiary of this work."
Hospitals that have this accreditation have achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack. To become an accredited chest pain center, Mount St. Mary's engaged in rigorous evaluation by SCPC for its ability to assess, diagnose, and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. To the community served by Mount St. Mary's, this means that processes are in place 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
Mount St. Mary's is also working with Catholic Health of Buffalo and its Mercy Hospital Interventional Cardiology Service to bring a cardiac catheterization laboratory to Niagara County on Mount St. Mary's Lewiston campus. An application for the cath lab is currently being reviewed by the New York State Department of Health.
Mount St. Mary's is also a designated stroke center by the New York State Department of Health.