Cooley Dickinson Wins Award for Heart-attack Response

NORTHAMPTON — Cooley Dickinson Hospital (CDH) has received the Mission: Lifeline Bronze Referring Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality-improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Assoc. (AHA) for the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks.
Each year in the U.S., approximately 250,000 people suffer a STEMI, or ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it is critical to immediately restore blood flow, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication.
The AHA’s Mission: Lifeline program helps hospitals, emergency medical services, and communities improve response times so people who suffer from a STEMI receive prompt, appropriate treatment. The program’s goal is to streamline systems of care to quickly get heart-attack patients from the first 911 call to hospital treatment.
“Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s Emergency Department is dedicated to improving the quality of care for patients who suffer a heart attack,” said Jennifer Dekoschak, clinical director of Emergency Services, adding that the Mission: Lifeline program is helping CDH accomplish that goal through internationally respected clinical guidelines. “We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in cardiac care, and we are proud of our team of emergency-medicine professionals — the emergency-medicine physicians and physician assistants, registered nurses, technicians, secretaries, and paramedics who care for our patients.”
Dr. A. Gray Ellrodt, chair of the Mission: Lifeline committee and chief of Medicine at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, commended CDH for the award, “which reflects a significant institutional commitment to improve the quality of care for their heart-attack patients. All too many heart-attack patients in the U.S. still fail to receive appropriate treatment for their life-threatening condition within the recommended time frames. We must all continue this important work to streamline and coordinate regional systems of care to save lives and prevent complications.”
Cooley Dickinson earned the award by meeting specific criteria and standards of performance for promptly diagnosing STEMI patients and transferring them to Baystate Medical Center, which is the Department of Public Health-mandated STEMI-intervention center in Western Mass. Eligible hospitals must adhere to these measures at a set level for a designated period of time to receive the awards. CDH was the only referring hospital in Massachusetts to receive this award.