UCI Health receives American Heart Association award for heart failure care

Medical center named to association’s Target: Heart Failure Honor Roll

October 31, 2014

UCI Health has received the Get With The Guidelines® – Heart Failure Gold Plus 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 secondary prevention guidelines recommended by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology.

This marks the fourth year the American Heart Association program has recognized UCI Health with this quality achievement award. Get With The Guidelines–Heart Failure is a quality improvement program that helps hospitals to provide the most up-to-date, research-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing hospital readmissions for heart failure patients.

“We are dedicated to delivering the highest quality care and improving patient outcomes,” said Dr. Dawn Lombardo, director of the UCI Health heart failure program. “The American Heart Association’s recognition of our commitment demonstrates that our patients can expect to receive the latest standards of care for treating heart failure.”

UC Irvine’s cardiology team earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include proper use of medications and aggressive risk-reduction therapies such as evidenced based beta-blockers, ACE/ARB inhibitors, Aldosterone Antagonist and anticoagulants for atrial fibrillation while patients are in the hospital. Before patients are discharged, they are educated on how to manage their heart failure and overall health, are provided referrals to our heart failure outpatient management program, and receive post discharge follow-up phone calls.

UCI Health exceeded the national benchmarks in six of the nine Heart Failure Quality Measures for 12 consecutive months to achieve the Plus designation, and in all four of the Heart Failure Achievement Measures for two consecutive years to achieve the Gold designation.

UC Irvine Medical Center also received the association’s Target: Heart Failure Honor Roll for the first time this year, exceeding the national benchmark for 50 percent or more of eligible patients in all three care components – medication optimization, early follow-up and care coordination, and enhanced patient education.

The Honor Roll initiative provides hospitals with educational tools, prevention programs and treatment guidelines developed to reduce the risk of hospital readmissions and help patients improve their quality of life in managing the chronic condition.

According to the American Heart Association, about 5.1 million people suffer from heart failure. Each year, 670,000 new cases are diagnosed and more than 275,000 people will die of heart failure. However, many heart failure patients can lead a full life when their condition is managed with proper medications 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 14 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. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 28,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. Located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities, it’s Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy.