Pulmonary Hypertension Association Accredits the First Regional Clinical Programs as Part of the Pulmonary Hypertension Care Center Program

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Three pulmonary hypertension (PH) clinics have earned accreditation from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) after demonstrating their ability to deliver quality care to patients living with a complex, often misdiagnosed, life-threatening disease.

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Three pulmonary hypertension (PH) clinics have earned accreditation from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) after demonstrating their ability to deliver quality care to patients living with a complex, often misdiagnosed, life-threatening disease. The three centers were participants in the Regional Clinical Program (RCP) pilot program, designed as part of the expansion of PHA’s PH Care Centers (PHCC) Program.

The first three RCP sites to receive accreditation are French Hospital Medical Center’s Central Coast Pulmonary Hypertension Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif.; Sentara Norfolk General Hospital’s Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic in Norfolk, Va.; and University of Connecticut Health’s Pulmonary Vascular Disease Program in, Farmington, Conn. As part of their participation in the pilot, the three newly accredited centers completed a rigorous review process for providing specialized PH patient care.

Conclusion of the RCP pilot has laid solid groundwork towards meeting the PHCC program goals of providing increased access for PH patients to high-quality care and fostering collaboration between regional treatment sites and those receiving PHA’s Center of Comprehensive Care (CCC)-accreditation. With the addition of the three RCPs, 50 programs (including six pediatric and forty-one adult CCCs) in 27 states across the U.S. have earned accreditation from PHA since it launched the quality improvement initiative less than three years ago.

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH)—a progressive, life-threatening, debilitating form of PH—is high blood pressure of the lungs due to narrowing of the pulmonary arteries. It forces the right side of the heart to pump so hard to move blood into the lungs that it can lead to heart failure. Symptoms are non-specific and include shortness of breath, fatigue and chest pain. Because patients go months, sometimes years, believing they have something other than PH, most patients are ultimately diagnosed with an advanced form of the disease. But early and accurate diagnosis, quality care and appropriate PAH treatments can extend and improve the quality of life for many patients.

To continue striving for better quality of care in the treatment of PH, the PHCC program encourages its accredited sites to participate in its PHA Registry (PHAR). The PHAR is a multi-center, prospective, observational registry of newly evaluated patients diagnosed at accredited centers in the United States with PAH or chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH), two forms of PH for which targeted treatments are available that can extend and improve patients’ lives. PHAR-participating centers collect baseline information when a patient is initially evaluated and follow-up data at approximately six-month intervals. The primary goal of the PHAR is to measure and improve quality of care — including assessing differences in centers’ adherence to evidence-based guidelines and establishing benchmarks for health outcomes — and to begin to learn relationships between adherence to expert recommended care strategies and patient outcomes. The PHAR gives accredited centers a platform to perform their own research and quality improvement initiatives and assess patient-reported outcomes, including health-related quality of life. Each PHAR site can access its own data in real-time, enabling the center to understand important information about their own patient populations and care practices. As of May 2017, 18 accredited sites are participating in the PHAR and have already enrolled 253 patients.

The online RCP application will be open to interested applicants, beginning July 1, 2017 and can be accessed at https://phassociation.org/PHCareCenters.

About the Pulmonary Hypertension Association:

Headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) is the country’s leading pulmonary hypertension organization. PHA’s mission is to extend and improve the lives of those affected by PH; its vision is a world without PH, empowered by hope. PHA achieves this by connecting and working together with the entire PH community of patients, families, health care professionals and researchers. For more information and to learn how you can support PH patients, visit http://www.PHAssociation.org and connect with PHA on Twitter and Instagram @PHAssociation and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/PulmonaryHypertensionAssociation.

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Jordan Jennings
@PHAssociation
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