MICHIGAN CITY — Franciscan Health’s Northwest Indiana hospitals have been recognized by the American College of Cardiology for “demonstrated expertise and commitment” in treating patients with chest pain.

Franciscan Health Michigan City, Franciscan Health Crown Point, Franciscan Health Hammond and Franciscan Health Dyer were awarded Chest Pain Center Accreditation with Primary PCI based on rigorous onsite evaluation of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack, according to Dr. Phillip D. Levy, FACC, chair of the ACC Accreditation Management Board.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 730,000 Americans suffer a heart attack each year.

The most common symptom of a heart attack for both men and women is chest pain or discomfort, according to the federal agency. However, women are more likely to have atypical symptoms.

Other heart attack symptoms include, but are not limited to, tingling or discomfort in one or both arms, back, shoulder, neck or jaw, shortness of breath, cold sweat, unusual tiredness, heartburn-like feeling, nausea or vomiting, sudden dizziness and fainting.

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is also known as coronary angioplasty, Levy noted. It is a non-surgical procedure that opens narrowed or blocked coronary arteries with a balloon to relieve symptoms of heart disease or reduce heart damage during or after a heart attack.

Hospitals that have earned ACC Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI Accreditation have “proven exceptional competency in treating patients with heart attack symptoms and have primary PCI available 24/7 every day of the year,” Levy said.

“As required to meet the criteria of the accreditation designation, they have streamlined their systems from admission to evaluation to diagnosis and treatment all the way through to appropriate post-discharge care and recommendations and assistance in patient lifestyle changes.”

In addition, these hospitals have formal agreements with other facilities that regularly refer heart attack patients to their facility for primary PCI.

“Franciscan Health has demonstrated its commitment to providing Northwest Indiana with excellent heart care,” Levy said.

“ACC Accreditation Services is proud to award Franciscan’s hospitals with Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI Accreditation.”

Hospitals receiving Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI Accreditation from the ACC must take part in a multi-faceted clinical process that involves:

completing a gap analysis

examining variances of care

developing an action plan

a rigorous onsite review

monitoring for sustained success.

“Improved methods and strategies of caring for patients include streamlining processes, implementing of guidelines and standards, and adopting best practices in the care of patients experiencing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack,” Levy said.

“Facilities that achieve accreditation meet or exceed an array of stringent criteria and have organized a team of doctors, nurses, clinicians, and other administrative staff that earnestly support the efforts leading to better patient education and improved patient outcomes,” he said.

Franciscan Health Chest Pain Centers were among the first to be accredited in Indiana and Illinois. According to the certification, Franciscan facilities have the specialists, processes and equipment in place to provide the highest level of care for patients experiencing chest pain.

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