NUMC is honored by Heart Association for treatment

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Nassau University Medical Center earned national recognition for its efforts to improve the management of heart failure in September. The medical center, in East Meadow, received the American Heart Association’s Gold Plus-Get With The Guidelines Heart Failure Quality Achievement Award.

The award was given to the hospital for its commitment to ensuring that heart failure patients receive the best treatment according to scientific evidence that has been nationally recognized and researched. The hospital’s ultimate goal is speeding up recovery and reducing readmissions for heart failure patients.

“In order to achieve Gold Plus, you need to have the highest numbers,” Amgad Makaryus, chairman of the Department of Cardiology at NUMC, said. “This means greater than 85 percent in the categories such as evidence-based medication treatment, different measurements of the heart and the patient education and patient follow-up.”

More than 6.5 million adults in the United States are living with heart failure. The condition tends to be chronic and causes patients to be readmitted to the hospital. 

“You need to be on top of things,” Makaryus said. “You’re treating hundreds and hundreds of patients, and you need to meet all of the criteria for a year.”

The 2021 award is based on data received from 2020. It was hard to meet the criteria during the coronavirus pandemic, Makaryus said.

Heart failure is manageable with the right medicine, lifestyle changes and devices. Many heart failure patients live enjoyable, productive lives. Heart failure is hard to treat, though, said Makaryus, and it is different among patients.

“Nassau University Medical Center is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our patients with heart failure by implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure initiative,” Anthony Boutin, president and CEO of NUMC said. “The end goal is to ensure more people in Long Island can experience longer, healthier lives.”

Get With The Guidelines is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program provides hospitals with the latest research-based guidelines. Get With The Guidelines was developed with the goal of saving lives and making recovery faster. It has helped more than 9 million patients since 2001.

“We are pleased to recognize Nassau University Medical Center for their commitment to heart failure care,” said Dr. Clyde Yancy, chief of cardiology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “Hospitals that follow Get With The Guidelines protocols often see fewer readmissions and lower mortality rates — a win for health-care systems, families and communities.”

Participants apply for the annual award by sharing their commitment to providing high-end care to heart failure patients. They are also rated on the education they provide to their patients to help them manage their heart failure once they are home. There are six levels of achievement: gold plus, gold, silver plus, silver, bronze and participating.

NUMC was also recognized on the association’s Target: Heart Failure Honor Roll. To achieve this honor, a hospital must meet specific criteria, such as helping patients improve medication adherence, providing early follow-up care and coordination, and enhancing patient education. The ultimate goal is to reduce hospital readmissions and help patients live with their condition.

The medical center also received the Association’s Type 2 Diabetes Honor Roll award. To be considered, hospitals must meet measures developed with more than 90 percent of compliance for 12 months to meet the “Overall Diabetes Cardiovascular Initiative Composite Score.”

“Our score of 91.3 is actually higher than the average of all New York hospitals and all of Long Island hospitals,” Makaryus said. “It’s a great accomplishment.”

NUMC is a  “safety-net hospital,” committed to treating patients regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. This can make treating patients harder.

“Our patients tend to have other social determinants of health that might not allow them to fulfill the outcome that other patients have who have better means,” he said. “Despite the disparities, we still treat our patients and get them to the same health levels as other better-off patients.”

Patients may be unable to pay for medication or even a ride to the hospital, and NUMC has programs to help in both of these situations. “We try to target these things,” Makaryus said. “We have a finance department, we have people to help with transportation, we have people to help with the transition of care and more. We try to really help our patients in the community.”

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