Date: 10/24/2006

Community Hospital is among eight hospitals statewide to implement American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Coronary Artery Disease Program

MUNSTER - Community Hospital in Munster is among eight hospitals statewide to receive recognition from the American Heart Association as a Get With The Guidelines-Coronary Artery Disease hospital. The recognition signifies that Community Hospital is participating in the American Heart Association Get With The Guidelines program. The quality improvement initiative is designed to reduce the risk of recurrent heart attacks by helping hospital staff follow proven evidence-based guidelines and procedures while coronary patients are in their care.

Under the program, coronary patients are started on aggressive risk reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, aspirin, ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers in the hospital and receive smoking cessation and weight management counseling and referrals for cardiac rehabilitation before being discharged. These standards of care are outlined in the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology secondary prevention guidelines for patients with coronary artery disease.

“The full implementation of secondary prevention guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives of coronary patients,” said Gray Ellrodt, M.D., American Heart Association volunteer chairman for the national Get With The Guidelines project. “The American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines program is designed to help hospitals like Community Hospital implement appropriate evidence-based guidelines for care and protocols that will reduce the number of recurrent events and death in these patients.”

According to the American Heart Association, more than 450,000 people suffer recurrent heart attacks each year. Statistics also show that within six years after a heart attack, about 22 percent of men and 46 percent of women will be disabled with heart failure. Within one year of an attack, 25 percent of men and 38 percent of women will die.

Research indicates that when patients are discharged from the hospital on appropriate medications such as aspirin, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors and lipid-lowering medicines, a patient’s rise of a second event is reduced and lives are saved.

“Community Hospital is dedicated to making our cardiac unit among the best in the country, and implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-CAD program will help us accomplish this by making it easier for our professionals to improve the long-term outcome for our cardiac patients,” said Donald Fesko, Administrator of Community Hospital.

Get With The Guidelines is designed to help Community Hospital’s staff develop and implement a secondary prevention guideline process. The program includes quality improvement measures such as care maps, discharge protocols, standing orders and measurement tools. Designed to be quick and efficient, these guideline tools will enable Community Hospital to improve the quality of care it provides cardiac patients, save lives and ultimately, reduce healthcare costs by lowering the recurrence of heart attacks. Projections have shown that if the Get With The Guidelines-CAD program were implemented nationwide, more than 80,000 lives could be saved each year.

The American Heart Association program, developed with support from an unrestricted education grant from Merck & Co., Inc., is being implemented in hospitals around the country. For more information on Get With The Guidelines, visit

Additional information about Community Hospital’s cardiac care services or physician referral assistance may by obtained by calling 219-836-3477, toll free 1-866-836-3477 or visiting
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