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Hal Skopicki, MD, PhD, FACC, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine and Director of the Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathy Program at Stony Brook University Medical Center, and Margaret Duffy, MS, RN, NEA-BC, Associate Director of Nursing for Cardiac Services at Stony Brook University Hospital, receive the Get With The Guidelines® Heart Failure Gold Quality Performance Achievement Award from Diana Barrett, CPHQ, Quality Improvement Initiatives for Long Island and New York City of the American Heart Association. Also pictured are representatives from the Department of Medicine, Cardiology Division; Continuous Quality Improvement; Decision Support Services; clinical nursing staff from Cardiology and Medicine; the Stony Brook University School of Nursing; Patient Education; and the Ventricular Assist Device program at Stony Brook University Medical Center.
National Honor Demonstrates Commitment to Quality Care for Heart Failure Patients Stony Brook University Medical Center has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines® Heart Failure Gold Quality Performance Achievement Award.

The award recognizes Stony Brook's commitment and success in implementing excellent care for heart failure patients, according to evidence-based guidelines.

To receive the award, Stony Brook achieved 85 percent or higher adherence 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 the guidelines, 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. "The goal of the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines program is to help hospitals like Stony Brook 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," Schwamm said. "Patients are getting the right care they need when they need it. That’s resulting in improved survival."

"This quick and efficient use of guideline tools enables Stony Brook to improve the quality of care it provides heart failure patients," said Hal Skopicki, MD, PhD, FACC, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine and Director of the Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathy Program at Stony Brook University Medical Center. “This program helps to save patients' lives and ultimately reduces healthcare costs by lowering the recurrence of heart attacks."

"Stony Brook University Heart Center is dedicated to making our care for heart failure patients among the best in the country," said Luis Gruberg, MD, FACC, Professor of Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Interim Chief, Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, and Director of Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories at Stony Brook University Heart Center. "Implementing these guidelines helps us accomplish this goal by making it easier for our professionals to improve long-term outcomes for these patients."

The AHA's program helps hospital 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.

According to the American Heart Association, about 5.7 million people suffer from heart failure. Statistics also show that, each year, 670,000 new cases are diagnosed and more than 277,000 people will die of heart failure.

For more information on Get With The Guidelines, visit www.americanheart.org/getwiththeguidelines.
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