St. Peter’s Earns Recognition for Heart Attack Care

December 2, 2021

American Heart Association Presents St. Peter’s Health with Mission Lifeline: Gold Receiving Quality Achievement Award

St. Peter’s Health announced today that the local health care system received the 2021 Mission: Lifeline Gold Receiving Award from the American Heart Association (AHA) for implementing specific quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who suffer from severe heart attacks.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. The Mission: Lifeline program is the American Heart Association’s national initiative to advance the system of care for patients with acute, high-risk, time sensitive life and/or quality of life threatening diseases such as ST Elevate Myocardial Infarction (STEMI Heart Attack). The program includes a team of Quality and Systems Improvement experts who are focused on supporting hospitals and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) agencies while forming and enhancing collaborative, efficient and effective systems of care.

St. Peter’s earned the award by meeting specific criteria that demonstrate the use of current evidence-based treatment guidelines to provide optimal care and outcomes for patients in the community. The standards of performance focus on efficient and appropriate treatment through emergency procedures to re-establish blood flow to blocked arteries in heart attack patients coming to the hospital.

“It takes a team to deliver high-quality care to patients experiencing a heart attack,” said St. Peter’s Interventional Cardiologist and Medical Director of Inpatient Cardiology, Dr. Elizabeth Holper. “For many patients, their journey starts by receiving life-saving care by emergency medical services in the field, and when they arrive at the hospital other teams in the emergency department and cath lab take over that care to ensure they receive timely, comprehensive treatment.”

St. Peter’s emphasizes that cardiac care does not end when the patient leaves the cath lab, or the department that is responsible for treating the blockages. According to Dr. Holper, “we have a team approach to optimal heart care. Our heart patients are cared for by an experienced and compassionate nursing staff; education is provided to patients by pharmacists and nutritionists; and arrangements for outpatient, ongoing cardiac rehab care is scheduled.”  

Quality heart attack care extends beyond the hospital, and even after the patient returns home. Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Supervisor Kristen Palmer, RN shares that the St. Peter’s Cardiac-Pulmonary Rehabilitation team sees approximately 28-32 patients per month, and each person has 2-3 appointments per week. Medically supervised cardiac rehabilitation helps patients recover quickly and safely from heart attacks as well as open heart surgery, heart failure and heart transplant surgery. “It is a secondary prevention program which means it helps patients who have had a heart condition from getting worse. It also reduces their risk of future heart events or problems, “ Palmer said. “The program is entirely tailored to each individual’s needs and helps them regain strength, endurance and confidence in small group setting.”

This recognition comes after St. Peter’s was the first health care system in Montana to receive ISO9001 certification, a quality management system that focuses on the effectiveness of methods to reduce failure and promotes continual improvement.