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UNMH earns American Heart Association award

The University of New Mexico Hospital has been recognized by the American Heart Association for its treatment of heart patients. (Source: Jett Loe/UNM)

The University of New Mexico Hospital has received the American Heart Association’s Get With the Guidelines-Heart Failure Gold Plus Achievement Award.

The award recognizes the hospital’s commitment to ensuring that heart failure patients receive the most appropriate treatment according to the nationally recognized, research-based guidelines founded in the latest scientific evidence. The goal is speeding recovery and reducing hospital readmissions for heart failure patients.

UNMH earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure patients at a set level for a designated place. These measures include evaluation of the proper use of medications and aggressive risk-reduction therapies. Before discharge, patients should receive education on managing their heart failure and overall health, and get a follow-up visit scheduled, along with other care transition interventions.

“Over the past decade, we at UNMH have been putting a great deal of effort into the quality of care for our congestive heart failure patients,” said Mark Sheldon, M.D., program director and interim chief of UNM’s Division of Cardiology. “Many people and groups are heavily involved in the program that has been created and steadily improved over the years. This award is a recognition and validation of all our efforts. I congratulate everyone involved, from the medical director to the coordinator, physicians, nurses, technologists, medical assistants and many others who work so hard to achieve this quality of care. It is well deserved and an endorsement of our compassion and persistent leadership.

“We look forward to the ongoing mission of taking care of some of the most complex patients in the health care system.”

UNMH is also recognized on the association’s Target: Heart Failure Honor Roll. Hospitals are required to meet specific criteria that include improving medication adherence, providing early follow-up care and coordination, and enhancing patient education. The goal is to reduce hospital readmissions and help patients improve their quality of life in managing this chronic condition.

According to the American Heart Association, more than 6.5 million adults in the United States are living with heart failure.

Many heart failure patients can lead a full, enjoyable life when their condition is managed with proper medications or devices and with healthy lifestyle changes.

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