WCHN Affiliates – Emergency Medical Services Achieve American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Award

Norwalk Hospital
Recognized for implementing improvements to STEMI treatments

Western Connecticut Health Network Affiliates, the City of Danbury's contracted ambulance provider has received the American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks. The criteria to achieve the Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Award is based on meeting the achievement measures aggregated annually for two years with no single measure scoring below 75 percent.

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience a STEMI, or ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction, a type of heart attack caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it's critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication.

Unfortunately, a significant number don't receive prompt reperfusion therapy, which is critical in restoring blood flow. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate STEMI patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. Mission: Lifeline's EMS recognition program recognizes those emergency responders for their efforts in improving STEMI systems of care and improving the quality of life for these patients.

Emergency Medical System providers are vital to the success of Mission: Lifeline. EMS agencies provide access to 12-lead ECG machines (devices that measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat and can help medical personnel determine if a heart attack has occurred), and follow protocols derived from American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines. The correct tools and training allow EMS providers to rapidly identify the STEMI, promptly notify the medical center, and trigger and early response from the awaiting hospital personnel.

Agencies that receive the Mission: Lifeline Gold award have demonstrated at least 75 percent compliance for each required achievement measure for two years and treated at least eight STEMI patients for each year.

"EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks," said Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association. "Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can shave precious minutes of life-saving treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals. We applaud Western Connecticut Health Network Affiliates-Emergency Medical Services for achieving this award that shows it meets evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks."

"The men and women of Danbury Emergency Medical Services are dedicated to making continuous quality improvements in emergency medical care for STEMI patients, and the American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline program in collaboration with first responders, Emergency Department clinicians and cardiovascular teams are helping us accomplish that goal," said Matthew G. Cassavechia, Director of WCHN Affiliates Emergency Medical Services. "We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care for STEMI patients."

About WCHN Affiliates - Emergency Medical Services

Western Connecticut Health Network Affiliates - Emergency Medical Services serves to improve the health and well-being of the community that often requires a focus on the needs of individuals and families where they live and work - outside of the health care facilities that make up WCHN. In fact, the health of the community is often dependent upon what happens before and after a patient uses the hospital or one of the many WCHN locations for outpatient care.

For more than 20 years, WCHN has provided contracted Emergency Medical Services (EMS) - including emergency medical treatment and transportation - in collaboration with Danbury Hospital and New Milford Hospital - for people and municipalities throughout the region. Using state-of-the-art vehicles, advanced pre-hospital procedures and supplies, and highly trained personnel, our primary focus I responding to 9-1-1 medical emergencies. WCHN Affiliates - Emergency Medical Services also provide public education and medical training, activities for injury and illness prevention, and emergency preparedness for the City of Danbury.

About Mission: Lifeline

The American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline program helps hospitals and emergency medical services develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for STEMI patients. The program works by mobilizing teams across the continuum of care to implement American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology clinical treatment guidelines.

Western Connecticut Health Network

Western Connecticut Health Network is the region's premier, patient-centered health care organization serving residents of Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. With this recent affiliation, the organization is now anchored by three nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and Norwalk Hospital, as well as their affiliated organizations. In addition to the three hospitals, the continuum of care offered includes numerous medical practices and sub-specialties across the region, home health care services, a nationally renowned biomedical research institute, the Western Connecticut Health Network Foundation, the Norwalk Hospital Foundation and other affiliates. For more information, visit TheNewWCHN.org. Share your comments with us at Facebook.com/DanburyHospital; Facebook.com/NewMilfordHospital and/or Facebook.com/NorwalkHospital.