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.”
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