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Published on September 15, 2017

Regional Heart Attack Alert Program Receives the AHA’s Mission Lifeline EMS Gold Plus Award

MidMichigan Medical Center - EMS Paramedics Zach Krahner & Jamie CampbellMidMichigan Medical Center - EMS Paramedics Zach Krahner (right) and Jamie Campbell (left) participate in a STEMI Alert Program exercise. 

MidMichigan Medical Center – Emergency Medical Services, in collaboration with MidMichigan’s Regional STEMI Alert Program partners, has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Award for implementing quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients who experience severe heart attacks.

This is the third consecutive year MidMichigan has received the Gold Award designation and the first year it has received the Gold Plus Award, AHA’s highest recognition level. The Plus portion of the award specifically recognizes MidMichigan Medical Center – Emergency Medical Services for its additional quality improvement measures for the treatment of patients experiencing a stroke or cardiac arrest. For cardiac arrest patients, the measure looks at the return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) after a cardiac arrest.

Every year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) the deadliest type of heart attack caused by a blockage of blood flow to a portion of the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.

Unfortunately, a significant number of STEMI patients don't receive this prompt reperfusion therapy, which is critical in restoring blood flow. Mission: Lifeline seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate these patients from timely access to appropriate treatments. Mission: Lifeline’s EMS recognition program recognizes emergency medical services for their efforts in improving 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 providing advanced life support (ALS) perform 12-lead ECGs which measure the electrical activity of the heart and can help determine if a heart attack has occurred. They also follow protocols derived from American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines. These correct tools, training, and practices allow EMS providers to rapidly identify suspected heart attack patients, promptly notify the medical center, and trigger an 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.

“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said James Jollis, M.D., Chair of the Mission: Lifeline Advisory Working Group. “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 MidMichigan Medical Center – Emergency Medical Services for achieving this award that shows it meets evidence-based guidelines in the treatment of people who have severe heart attacks.”

“We are dedicated to making our unit among the best in the country, and the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program is helping us accomplish that by implementing processes for improving STEMI systems of care with the goal of improving the quality of care for all STEMI patients,” said John Shaffer, director of MidMichigan Medical Center – EMS. “We are extremely pleased to receive AHA’s Gold Plus Award for our dedication and achievements in emergency medical care for all cardiac patients.”

MidMichigan Health’s Regional STEMI Alert Program was designed to train paramedics on how to quickly identify STEMI patients so that they can implement life-saving protocols to bypass the closest Emergency Department and take the patient to the nearest Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) Center. The program is approved for up to a 90-minute patient transport time to MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland, the nearest PCI Center. To ensure overall success of the program, MidMichigan Medical Center – EMS actively collaborates with other local EMS agencies to provide training and share best practices.

Those who would like more information on MidMichigan’s Regional STEMI Alert Program may visit www.midmichigan.org/stemi.