UF Health Jacksonville honored for best cardiac care in region

Hospital receives top chest pain center accreditation


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – UF Health Jacksonville has been awarded the top recognition for heart disease

care, becoming the only hospital in Florida to receive accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular

Patient Care as a designated Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI and Resuscitation.


Only 24 health care facilities in the United States have received this specific accreditation from the

society. The honor was awarded to UF Health Jacksonville following a two-year process that is

considered one of the most rigorous in health care.


“This is yet another example of why UF Health Jacksonville is considered Northeast Florida’s top

destination when it comes to saving lives,” said Russ Armistead, CEO of UF Health Jacksonville. “We are

the only Level I trauma center in the region and we are home to one of the leading stroke care programs

in the country. Now, on top of those accomplishments, we have been recognized as the top center in

the community for cardiac care.”


The accreditation highlights the tremendous health care provided by organizations throughout

northeast Florida, and specifically UF Health’s continued collaboration with the city of Jacksonville to

bring the most advanced treatment available to its residents.

“I am delighted to learn of this remarkable achievement earned by UF Health,” said Jacksonville Mayor

Lenny Curry. “This recognition demonstrates that our city is home to leading health centers committed

to providing quality services and resources to citizens.”


Chest pain centers with primary PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention) and resuscitation are

considered the most prepared among health care facilities. Primary PCI means centers have the means

to perform emergency angioplasty, a life-saving intervention performed during a heart attack in which a

stent is inserted into an artery to increase blood flow to the heart. To receive the primary PCI and

resuscitation designation, hospitals are also required to:


 Have staff on duty or just minutes from the facility to treat patients with the most serious heart

 Be equipped with a robust hypothermia program for follow-up treatment;

 Maintain a “no-diversion policy” for out-of- hospital cardiac arrest patients; and

 Have a separate Multidisciplinary Resuscitation Committee with representatives from EMS,

emergency medicine, nursing, surgery and administration.


“Our critical care team is honored to receive this designation. It is proof that all of the effort put into

treating the sickest patients is recognized by top health care organizations throughout the country,” said

Andy Godwin, M.D., chair of emergency medicine at UF Health Jacksonville. “Our mission is to save lives,

and we do it every day with much of the work beginning in emergency medicine. When someone comes

through our doors, they should know they will receive care from the most highly skilled professionals in

UF Health Jacksonville is also an accredited Magnet organization, and the highly skilled nursing team

plays an important role in providing the latest, best practices throughout the organization, including

being part of the multidisciplinary emergency critical care team. In addition, the hospital has been and

continues to be a leader in teaching and promoting hands-only CPR, recognized by the Society of

Cardiovascular Patient Care as key to increased patient survival. Thus far, nearly 30,000 residents of

northeast Florida have been taught the potentially life-saving procedure.


Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually

from heart disease. More than 5 million people visit hospitals every year with chest pain. The goal of the

society is to significantly reduce the mortality rate through education by teaching people how to

recognize the symptoms of a possible heart attack, reduce the time it takes to receive treatment, and

increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.


“I can’t put into words how proud I am of our entire staff, in this case specifically, the critical care team,”

Armistead said. “The process of applying and receiving chest pain center accreditation is a rigorous one

but it is certainly worth it.”