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August 01, 2012

Largo, FL — Largo Medical Center is the ONLY hospital in Pinellas County to have received the Get With The Guidelines®–Heart Failure Gold Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association. The recognition signifies that Largo Medical Center has reached an aggressive goal of treating heart failure patients with a minimum of 85 percent compliance for at least 24 months to core standard levels of care as outlined by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology secondary prevention guidelines for heart failure patients.

Get With The Guidelines is a quality improvement initiative that provides hospital staff with tools that follow proven evidence-based guidelines and procedures in caring for heart failure patients to prevent future hospitalizations.

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

“The full implementation of national heart failure guideline recommended care is a critical step in preventing recurrent hospitalizations and prolonging the lives of heart failure patients,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chair of the Get With The Guidelines National Steering Committee and Director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass. “The goal of the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines program is to help hospitals like Largo Medical Center implement appropriate evidence-based care and protocols that will reduce disability and the number of deaths in these patients. Published scientific studies are providing us with more and more evidence that Get With The Guidelines works. Patients are getting the right care they need when they need it. That’s resulting in improved survival.”

“Largo Medical Center is dedicated to making our care for heart failure patients among the best in the country and implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines–Heart Failure program is helping us accomplish this goal by making it easier for our professionals to improve the long-term outcome for these patients,” said Janet Morra, Vice President of Cardiovascular Services at Largo Medical Center.

Get With The Guidelines–Heart Failure helps Largo Medical Center’s staff develop and implement acute and secondary prevention guideline processes. The program includes quality-improvement measures such as care maps, discharge protocols, standing orders and measurement tools. This quick and efficient use of guideline tools will enable Largo Medical Center to improve the quality of care it provides heart failure patients, save lives and ultimately, reduce healthcare costs by lowering the recurrence of heart attacks.

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Tammy Robiconti
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