Albany Med Receives Joint Commission Certification for Heart Pump Program
November 26, 2013 - Albany , NY
ALBANY, N.Y., Nov. 26, 2013 - Albany Medical Center, the first hospital in the region to provide mechanical heart pump implants for critically ill patients, is now the only hospital in the region to be recognized for the high quality of its implant program by The Joint Commission, the nation's preeminent monitor of hospital quality.
Albany Med received Joint Commission certification for its ventricular assist device (VAD) heart pump implant program, one of only two New York hospitals outside of the New York City Metropolitan region to receive this designation.
"This certification is an important external stamp of approval that says we provide the highest quality care for the most critically ill heart patients and allows us to provide this option to more patients," said Stuart Miller, M.D., surgical director of Albany Med's VAD program and the leading VAD surgeon in the region. "For some people, the VAD implant can be one of the only options for improving their quality of life, and we are pleased to be able to offer this to more patients who need it."
The Heartmate II VAD device attaches to the heart and takes over the heart pumping function for patients with significant heart damage. While Albany Med had been limited to implanting VADs (also called LVADs, or left ventricular assist devices) only for patients awaiting transplant, the Joint Commission certification now allows the Medical Center to provide this therapy for all patients for whom it is appropriate.
To receive certification, a medical facility must have performed a substantial number of VAD procedures and exhibit the capacity to provide comprehensive follow-up care.
"The Joint Commission certification affirms that we have met the most stringent tests for providing a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach that includes both implantation and follow-up care," said Edward Bennett, M.D., chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Albany Medical Center.
"The certification of our VAD program is an important recognition that allows us to offer even more options for patients as part of an exceptional heart failure and heart care program at Albany Med," said Edward Philbin, M.D., chief of the Division of Cardiology.
Mark Tallman, M.D., a clinical assistant professor at Albany Medical College and Capital Cardiology Associates physician, played a large role as lead cardiologist in implementing the VAD program. "Our goal has been to allow people to get the care they need closer to home," he said. "Albany Med is now able to provide the full range of services, from evaluation through, if needed, implantation and subsequent follow-up."
Dr. Miller noted that collaboration has been an important goal of the program. The same is true for Albany Med's transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program. In October, Albany Med performed its 100th TAVR, a highly complex, minimally invasive heart procedure for the treatment of aortic stenosis used for patients too frail for more conventional procedures.
Albany Medical Center is now one of only 125 facilities in the country with VAD Destination Therapy certification from the Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. Joint Commission accreditation and certification is recognized across the country as a symbol of quality for health care organizations. Certification means Albany Med also meets the standards of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
For more information, go to: http://www.amc.edu/Patient/services/Surgery/cardiac_surgery/lvad/index.cfm.
Albany Medical Center, northeastern New York's only academic health sciences center, is one of the largest private employers in the Capital Region. It incorporates the 734-bed Albany Medical Center Hospital, which offers the widest range of medical and surgical services in the region, and the Albany Medical College, which trains the next generation of doctors, scientists and other healthcare professionals, and also includes a biomedical research enterprise and the region's largest physicians practice with more than 400 doctors. Albany Medical Center works with dozens of community partners to improve the region's health and quality of life. For more information: www.amc.edu or www.facebook.com/albanymedicalcenter.
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