St. Elizabeth Health Center Earns American Heart Association’s ‘Get With The Guidelines’ Gold Award

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St. Elizabeth Health Center has received the Get With The Guidelines®–Heart Failure Gold Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association.

St. Elizabeth Health Center has received the Get With The Guidelines®–Heart Failure Gold Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association.

The award recognizes the health center for achieving an aggressive goal for treating heart failure patients: Some 85 percent of heart failure patients comply, for at least 24 months, with core standard levels of care as outlined by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology secondary prevention guidelines.

Get With The Guidelines® (GWTG) is a quality improvement initiative that provides hospital staff with tools that follow proven evidence-based guidelines and procedures in caring for heart failure patients to prevent future hospitalizations.

Under GWTG, heart failure patients begin aggressive risk-reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, diuretics and anticoagulants before they are discharged from the hospital. Before leaving the hospital, heart failure patients are also counseled about thyroid management, the use of alcohol and drugs, and are referred for cardiac rehabilitation.

“St. Elizabeth Health Center is dedicated to making the care it provides to heart failure patients among the best in the country, and implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With the Guidelines®–Heart Failure program helps accomplish this by making it easier for caregivers to improve the long-term outcomes for these patients,” observed Dr. David Hoffman, who spearheaded development of the heart failure unit at St. Elizabeth. He credits the outstanding, vigilant and compassionate care given by the St. Elizabeth Health Center nurses and aides.

“Get With The Guidelines® helps the staff of St. Elizabeth to develop and implement acute and secondary prevention guidelines,” added Mariann Pacak, director of heart and vascular services at St. Elizabeth Health Center. “The program includes quality improvement measures such as care maps, discharge protocols, standing orders and measurement tools. This quick and efficient use of American Heart Association tools enables St. Elizabeth Health Center to improve the quality of care it provides, saves lives and ultimately reduce health care costs by reducing the recurrence of heart attacks. Most important,” she added, “Get With The Guidelines improves the quality of life for heart failure patients by keeping them at home where they want to be rather than in the hospital.”

“The full implementation of care as recommended in accordance with national heart failure guides is a critical step in preventing recurrent hospitalizations and prolonging the lives of heart failure patients,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., chairman of the GWTG national steering committee and director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “The goal of the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines program is to help hospitals like St. Elizabeth Health Center implement appropriate evidence-based care and protocols that reduce disability and the number of deaths in these patients. Published scientific studies are providing us with ongoing evidence that Get With The Guidelines works. Patients are getting the right care when they need it, resulting in improved survival.”

Some 5.7 million people suffer from heart failure according to the American Heart Association. Statistics also show that 670,000 new cases are diagnosed each year and that more than 277,000 will die of heart failure.

About Humility of Mary Health Partners
Humility of Mary Health Partners is an integrated health system located in the Youngstown/Warren area. It is a region of Catholic Health Partners (CHP) in Cincinnati, the largest health system in Ohio and one of the largest Catholic health systems in the United States. HMHP provides a full spectrum of health care services, including inpatient, outpatient, emergency, urgent care, home care and long-term care. Members are St. Elizabeth Health Center, St. Joseph Health Center, St. Elizabeth Boardman Health Center, HM Home Health Services, The Assumption Village, Humility House, Hospice of the Valley and Laurel Lake. Learn more about HMHP online at

About Get With The Guidelines
Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers health care teams to save lives and reduce health care costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. For more information, visit


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Maraline Kubik