SMH first in Florida, fourth in nation to become AHA Cardiac Center of Excellence

Honor recognizes ‘exemplary dedication and commitment to cardiovascular excellence’

Sarasota Memorial Hospital is located near downtown Sarasota. Photo courtesy Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System’s heart program has become the first in Florida and fourth in the nation to receive the American Heart Association’s Cardiovascular Center of Excellence accreditation, “a comprehensive level of designation for cardiovascular care,” Sarasota Memorial Hospital has announced.

“Reaching this highest level of accreditation demonstrates your exemplary dedication and commitment to cardiovascular excellence in your communities,” Michele Bolles, national vice president of Quality & Health IT for the American Heart Association, stated in a June 29 letter of notification to Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH). “Your cardiovascular team was required to demonstrate excellence in cardiovascular care, including early patient and community engagement, external support, and scientific, evidence-based, guidelines-driven care during critical health events when patients needed you the most. This is the epitome of a true System of Care,” the letter added.

To earn recognition as an accredited Cardiovascular Center of Excellence, “Sarasota Memorial’s cardiac team demonstrated that it met or exceeded standards established,” using multidisciplinary treatment models for all types of cardiovascular patients, an SMH news release said. “The standards include 24/7 cardiovascular services, comprehensive training for all staff caring for this patient population, a strong internal and external systems-of-care approach to deliver services and extensive community outreach to help its population recognize and participate in cardiovascular health,” the release added.

“SMH underwent rigorous reviews by the American Heart Association’s accreditation review team,” the release pointed out. During those reviews, “cardiovascular quality improvement specialists reviewed the hospital’s policies, procedures and operations to ensure appropriate diagnosis, treatment and education protocols were in place and executed for cardiovascular patients,” the release said. “The facility also had to demonstrate efforts to increase community awareness of the importance of cardiovascular health.”

The overall goal for the Cardiovascular Center of Excellence accreditation is to improve the outcomes of patients affected by cardiovascular disease, the release explained.