In July, VCU Medical Center was honored with a Gold Award by the American Heart Association, recognizing its superior emergency care for patients suffering from serious heart attacks known as STEMIs.
VCU Medical Center, which treats about 80-100 STEMI patients each year, received the Gold Award after meeting the AHA’s top performance metrics for eight consecutive quarters. One of the most difficult criteria to meet is “first medical contact to reperfusion,” says Michael Kontos, M.D., director of VCU Health Pauley Heart Center’s Coronary Intensive Care Unit. “Rather than just looking at the time it takes from Emergency Department arrival to getting the artery open, this metric expands care to outside the hospital,” he says, with the clock starting from the moment that the ambulance reaches the patient. “It takes an incredible amount of coordination and teamwork to facilitate this process.”
Of the award, he says, “we were very pleased. We have an outstanding team that includes EMS, the Emergency Department, Cardiology, nurses, physicians and many others who work together to provide the best care possible for this very high-risk, acutely ill population.”
VCU Medical Center was one of only three hospitals in Virginia to receive the Gold Award, with the others being the Sentara Williamsburg Regional and St. Francis Medical Centers.