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St. Mary's Hospital and Health

About St. Mary's Hospital and Health

"St. Mary's voluntarily pursued this comprehensive, independent evaluation to enhance the safety and quality of care we provide," says Tom Fitz, St. Mary's President and CEO "We're proud to achieve this distinction, which demonstrates to our cardiology patients that the quality of care we offer meets or exceeds national standards for – more... excellence."

Heart failure is a major health problem affecting nearly 5 million Americans. Formerly known as Congestive Heart Failure, the condition progressively reduces the heart's ability to pump blood effectively. Heart failure is caused by many of the same factors that cause heart attacks - including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and genetic factors - and can be life-threatening.

Because the body compensates for a slowly weakening heart, many people in the early stages of heart failure are unaware they have a heart problem. As the condition progresses, symptoms may include shortness of breath, coughing, fluid in the lungs, fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, rapid heartbeat and confusion.

"With effective treatment, most heart failure patients are able to improve their quality of life, increase their capacity for work and recreation, and lead longer, more meaningful lives," says David Bailey, St. Mary's Director of Critical Care, Medical and Respiratory Services.

St. Mary's continuum of heart failure care features a new Cardiac Cath/Electrophysiology Lab for the implantation of resynchronization devices and pacemakers and the treatment of irregular heart rhythms called arrhythmias. St. Mary's also offers a Coumadin Clinic, Cardiac Rehab, Home Health Care/Hospice Services, Remote EKG transmission from its ambulances and the newly created Athens Cardiac Arrhythmia Center. In addition, St. Mary's helps patients address the causes of heart failure through diabetes education, nutritional consultations and fitness programs at its Wellness Center.

Heart Failure certification is St. Mary's second Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission. In 2004, St. Mary's became one of the first 20 hospitals in the nation to be certified by the Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center. That certification was renewed in 2006, when St. Mary's also was designated as a Neuroscience Center of Excellence by another national organization that evaluates quality, NeuroSource.

The Joint Commission launched its Disease-Specific Care Certification program in 2002. It is the first program of its kind in the country to certify disease management programs. A list of programs certified by the Joint Commission is available at

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve the safety and quality of care provided to the public through the provision of health care accreditation and related services that support performance improvement in health care organizations. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits nearly 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 8,000 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,800 other health care organizations that provide long term care, assisted living, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. The Joint Commission also accredits health plans, integrated delivery networks, and other managed care entities. In addition, the Joint Commission provides certification of disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers, and health care staffing services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, the Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about the Joint Commission at – lessMore from ZoomInfo »

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