UC Irvine Medical Center receives American Heart Association award for heart failure care

'Get with the Guidelines' treatment standards show improved patient outcomes

October 15, 2013

UC Irvine Medical Center has received the Get With The Guidelines®– Heart Failure Gold Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association. The recognition signifies that UCI Health has achieved the goal of treating heart failure patients according to the guidelines of care recommended by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology.

This marks the third year the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines program has recognized UCI Health with this quality achievement award.

“UCI Health is committed to improving the lives of heart failure patients,” said Dr. Dawn Lombardo, director of the hospital’s heart failure program. “The American Heart Association’s recognition of this commitment demonstrates that our patients can expect to receive the latest standards of care for treating heart failure.”

Get With The Guidelines–Heart Failure helps staff develop and implement acute and secondary prevention guideline processes to improve patient care and outcomes. The program provides hospitals with a web-based patient management tool, best practice discharge protocols and standing orders, along with a robust registry and real-time benchmarking capabilities to track performance.

The quick and efficient use of guideline procedures can improve the quality of care for heart failure patients, save lives and ultimately, reduce healthcare costs by lowering the recurrence of heart attacks. 

The American Heart Association bestows the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award on hospitals that reach an aggressive goal of treating heart failure patients with at least 85 percent compliance for two consecutive years with AHA-specified standards of care for heart failure patients. UC Irvine Medical Center’s composite compliance rate for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 was 97.1 percent. The “Plus” designation is for hospitals that achieve 75 percent or higher adherence to four of the nine AHA-specified quality measures; UC Irvine achieved a composite compliance of 94 percent.

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

A 2009 study published in the American Heart Journal concluded that hospitals adhering to these AHA guidelines had lower mortality rates.

The UCI Health commitment to high-quality cardiac care is demonstrated in other ways:

  • In January 2010, the hospital opened its Cardiovascular Center, a one-stop shop designed to make the diagnosis and treatment of heart and blood vessel disease a kinder and gentler experience for patients and their families.
  • In 2010, The Joint Commission renewed its Gold Seal of Approval for UC Irvine’s heart failure program. In 2008, this certification was the first by The Joint Commission at a Southern California hospital.
  • In 2011, The American Heart Association honored UCI Health with its Get With The Guidelines—Heart Failure Gold Plus Award.
  • The UCI Health Preventive Cardiology Program is Orange County’s only research-based heart disease prevention program.

According to the American Heart Association, about 5.7 million people suffer from heart failure, or the inability of the heart to supply sufficient blood flow to meet the body’s needs.  About 670,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and more than 277,000 people will die of heart failure. However, many heart failure patients can lead a full, enjoyable life when their condition is managed with proper medications and devices and with healthy lifestyle changes.

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. For more information, visit heart.org/quality.

UCI Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 412-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among America’s Best Hospitals for 13 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and is the primary teaching hospital for UC Irvine School of Medicine. UCI Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County.

Media contact:
John MurrayUCI Health714-456-7759