Berkshire Medical Center Cited for Treatment of Heart Failure

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Medical Center has received the Get with the Guidelines – Heart Failure Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Assoc. for its excellence in the treatment of patients with heart failure.

This is the sixth straight year that BMC has been recognized with a Performance Achievement Award by the American Heart Assoc. for heart failure, and BMC was the first hospital in the nation to be honored for heart failure six years ago.

This is the latest in a continuous string of honors for BMC from the American Heart Assoc., which has also recognized the medical center nine years in a row for the care of patients with coronary artery disease and for seven consecutive years for the care of stroke patients.

“Berkshire Medical Center’s heart failure team is to be commended for this commitment to improving the quality of care for their patients,” said Dr. Lee Schwamm, chair of the Get with the Guidelines National Steering Committee and director of TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

The goal of the Get with the Guidelines program, he added, “is to help health care providers implement appropriate, evidence-based care and protocols that will reduce disability and death and improve the quality of life for patients. Published scientific studies are providing us with more and more evidence that Get with the Guidelines works. Patients are getting the right care they need when they need it. That’s resulting in improved survival.”

“BMC is dedicated to being among the top hospitals nationwide in the care of heart-failure patients,” said Dr. Gray Ellrodt, BMC’s chief quality officer and chairman of its Department of Medicine. Implementing this program, he noted, is “making it easier for our professionals to improve the long-term outcome for our patients.”

The heart-failure award is given only to hospitals that achieve 85{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} or higher adherence to all Get with the Guidelines – Heart Failure quality-achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month intervals, and have also achieved 75{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} or higher compliance with four of nine Get with the Guidelines – Heart Failure quality measures to improve quality of patient care and outcomes.

Get with the Guidelines is a quality-improvement initiative that provides hospital staff with tools that follow proven, evidence-based guidelines and procedures in caring for heart-failure patients to improve outcomes, prevent future hospitalizations, and prolong life.

Under Get with the Guidelines – Heart Failure, heart-failure patients are started on aggressive risk-reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, diuretics, and anticoagulants in the hospital. They also receive alcohol/drug use and thyroid-management counseling as well as referrals for cardiac rehabilitation before being discharged.

According to the American Heart Assoc., about 5.7 million people suffer from heart failure. Statistics also show that 670,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, and more than 277,000 people will die annually of heart failure.

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