ACC Accreditation Highlights SMH’s Excellence in Chest Pain Care

ACC Accreditation Highlights SMH’s Excellence in Chest Pain Care

Thursday, December 13, 2018

SARASOTA, Fla. (Dec. 13, 2018) — The American College of Cardiology awarded Sarasota Memorial full accreditation this month as a designated Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI and Resuscitation for demonstrated expertise in treating patients with chest pain.

Sarasota Memorial is the first hospital in Sarasota County to receive the highest-level designation, which followed a rigorous onsite evaluation of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack or cardiac arrest. 

“Sarasota Memorial Hospital has demonstrated its commitment to providing Sarasota and the surrounding community with excellent heart care,” said Phillip D. Levy, MD, FACC, chair of the American College of Cardiology Accreditation Management Board. 

To earn this high-level Chest Pain Center designation, hospitals must maintain a “No Diversion Policy” for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients and demonstrate exceptional competency in treating patients with heart attack symptoms, including offering primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) 24/7, every day of the year. Also known as coronary angioplasty, PCI is a non-surgical, catheter-based procedure that uses balloons to open narrowed or blocked coronary arteries to reduce heart damage during or after a heart attack, and inserts stents to keep the arteries open and prevent further heart disease. 

Accredited hospitals also offer a robust hypothermia program to resuscitate cardiac arrest patients. Resuscitation involves complex, targeted temperature management through induced therapeutic hypothermia treatment. This process helps to reduce brain damage when blood flow from the heart is restricted. 

Dr. James Fox“This designation represents a systemwide commitment to reduce the mortality rate of heart patients with a unified and effective approach in treating patients with chest pain,” said Cardiologist James Fox, MD, on behalf of Sarasota Memorial’s Cardiology Department. “And it is a testament to the diligence and dedication of our entire cardiac care team, from EMS first responders to the physicians, clinicians and staff in our emergency care center, cardiac catheterization lab, cardiology, nursing, and diagnostic services.” 

More than 5 million Americans visit hospitals with chest pain each year, and more than 730,000 suffer a heart attack, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart disease remains the #1 killer of both men and women in the United States.

About Sarasota Memorial Health Care System 
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of care, with more than 900,000 patient visits each year. Its flagship 839-bed, acute-care hospital has been consistently recognized as one of the nation’s largest and best, with superior patient outcomes and a complete continuum of outpatient services – from urgent care, trauma and emergency services to laboratory and diagnostic imaging, home health, skilled nursing and rehabilitation. SMH is the only hospital in Florida to have consistently earned the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ highest five-star quality rating since the evaluation system launched in 2016. 

About the American College of Cardiology
The American College of Cardiology (ACC) bestows credentials upon cardiovascular providers who meet stringent qualifications and lead in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. Hospitals receiving Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI and Resuscitation Accreditation from the ACC must take part in a multi-faceted clinical process that involves: completing a gap analysis; examining variances of care, developing an action plan; a rigorous onsite review; and monitoring for sustained success. Improved methods and strategies of caring for patients include streamlining processes, implementing guidelines and standards, and adopting best practices in the care of patients experiencing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Facilities that achieve accreditation meet or exceed an array of stringent criteria and have organized a team of doctors, nurses, clinicians and other administrative staff who earnestly support the efforts leading to better patient education and improved patient outcomes. For more information about ACC Accreditation Services, visit