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Porter Regional Hospital First in the Nation to Achieve Heart Accreditation


Porter Regional Hospital is the first hospital in the nation to be recognized by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Accreditation Services for Atrial Fibrillation with EPS Accreditation – Version 3. The hospital was notified of the achievement at the end of February, during national heart month, culminating a rigorous onsite evaluation of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients with atrial fibrillation, commonly called afib.

“Porter Regional Hospital was the first in Northwest Indiana to implant a Watchman device just two years ago, and now we are first in the entire nation to be recognized for achieving the highest level of afib accreditation with EP services. This is an outstanding achievement in heart care for our patients and for Northwest Indiana. It shows Porter’s commitment to excellence, and confirms that high tech heart care is available right here in Valparaiso,” said Sean Dardeau, Market CEO for Porter Health Care System.

“This is the result of an exceptional effort on the part of the heart teams at Porter,” said Hector J. Marchand, M.D., a cardiologist and medical director of the atrial fibrillation program. “Our goal has always been to provide superior care to our patients, and to elevate the level of heart care available in our community. We are very happy we have been able to accomplish this for our afib patients, because the condition is so common, yet so dangerous.”

Marchand said the accomplishment is a defining factor in his career, as he looks toward a summer 2018 retirement after more than 40 years practicing medicine.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common sustained arrhythmia in adults and is reaching epidemic proportions. A 2017 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology stated nearly 7 million people in the US have afib, and it is projected that nearly 16 million will have afib by 2050. The situation is even more alarming when you consider that afib is responsible for nearly 25 percent of all reported strokes. The current annual cost of afib care in the US is more than $6 billion and nearly $26 billion when co- morbidities and indirect costs are considered. Recent worldwide estimates up to 33.5 million patients have afib, making this a global epidemic.

“Afib is a serious condition, but it is usually a treatable condition, especially when you consider the expertise available within Porter Health Care System,” said Mark Dixon, D.O., an electrophysiologist at Porter Regional Hospital. Dixon, along with physicians Scott Kaufman, D.O., and Raghuram Dasari, M.D., perform afib ablations and other innovative procedures at Porter Regional Hospital.

“The multidisciplinary approach that we take involves a patient’s primary care doctor, cardiologist, and any other specialist they may see, including our cardiovascular nurse practitioner, so we can provide a full continuum of care and meet the rigorous standards called for by the American College of Cardiology,” Dixon said.

Watchman implants, for example, require an entire heart team consisting of an electrophysiologist, a cardiologist, and an interventional cardiologist. Watchman is an implant that helps reduce the chances of stroke for some afib patients who are seeking an alternative to taking long-term blood thinning medications. The Watchman team at Porter includes Dixon and Kaufman, as well as Sandeep Sehgal, M.D., and Jay Shah, M.D. The hospital was able to achieve Atrial Fibrillation with EPS Accreditation, in part, because of the high volume of advanced EP procedures completed at Porter Regional Hospital.

In addition, due to its long-standing relationship with the ACC Accreditation Services, the hospital served as part of a pilot program that assisted the ACC in developing the rigorous standards by which all other facilities nationwide will now be measured if they seek afib accreditation.

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Dawn Nelson, MSN, APRN, CNS, NP-C, who spearheaded Porter’s accreditation efforts, said she hopes patients will understand the seriousness of an afib diagnosis. “It is important for people to understand that patients with afib are five times more likely to suffer a stroke. It is not a harmless condition,” Nelson said. “Working directly with the ACC as a pilot site to develop the next level of standards for afib accreditation with EP services was an honor, and further advances the quality of care provider to our heart patients at Porter.”

Hospitals receiving Atrial Fibrillation with EPS Accreditation from the ACC must take part in a multifaceted clinical process that involves completing a gap analysis, examining variances of care, developing an action plan, participating in a rigorous onsite review, and continuous monitoring for sustained success.

Improved methods and strategies of caring for patients include streamlining processes, implementing guidelines and standards, and adopting best practices in the precise care of atrial fibrillation patients. 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, improved patient outcomes, and more effective and efficient disease control.

“We are very proud to add this accreditation to our existing accolades in cardiology,” said Mary Drewes, MBA, MSN, Director of the Cardiovascular Service Line at Porter. Porter Regional Hospital is an accredited Chest Pain Center, a Get with the Guidelines Heart Failure Gold-Plus Designated Facility, a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care, is Advanced Heart Failure Certified by The Joint Commission, is designated a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission, certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, and has achieved accreditation by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission Echocardiography/ ICAEL. The hospital is also certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

Those who feel they may have symptoms of afib should see a doctor immediately. Symptoms include general fatigue, rapid and irregular heartbeat, fluttering or “thumping” in the chest, dizziness, shortness of breath and anxiety, weakness, faintness or confusion, and chest pain or pressure. Chest pain or pressure is a medical emergency that could be an indication of a heart attack; call 911 immediately.

The community can take an online Heart Risk Assessment and easily get connected with a primary care provider or cardiologist by visiting porterhealth.com.

About the American College of Cardiology
The American College of Cardiology is the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team. The mission of the College and its more than 52,000 members is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College operates national registries to measure and improve care, offers cardiovascular accreditation to hospitals and institutions provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research and bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists who meet stringent qualifications.

For more information about ACC Accreditation Services, visit accreditation.acc.org, or call toll-free 1-877-271-4176.

Porter Regional Hospital
85 East U.S. Highway 6
Valparaiso, IN 46383
219 - 983 - 8300
Visit Porter Regional Hospital's Website
Visit Porter Regional Hospital's Partner Profile
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Porter Regional Hospital
85 East U.S. Highway 6
Valparaiso, IN 46383
219 - 983 - 8300
Visit Porter Regional Hospital's Website
Visit Porter Regional Hospital's Partner Profile
Visit us on Facebook

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