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Piedmont Augusta Receives Cardiac Care Center Re-designation

Augusta, Ga. (November 28, 2023) – Piedmont Augusta has earned re-designation as a Level I Emergency Cardiac Care Center by the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), Office of EMS and Trauma. The designation is for a period of three years, ending Dec. 31, 2026.

“The department commends you and your staff for your continued commitment to excellence in emergency cardiac care,” said Kathleen Toomey, M.D., Georgia DPH commissioner. “Improving the survival rates from heart attacks and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Georgia is exceedingly important and is in keeping with public health’s desire to protect and improve the health and lives of individuals throughout our state.”

Cardiovascular disease is responsible for over 800,000 deaths each year in the U.S., or about one in three deaths, according to the American Heart Association. Each day, 2,300 Americans die from cardiovascular disease. To improve these outcomes and reduce the death burden from cardiovascular disease and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in Georgia, legislation was signed into law in 2017 establishing the Office of Cardiac Care within the Georgia Department of Public Health.   

“We believe that improving emergency cardiac care throughout Georgia can best be achieved by adopting a ‘systems approach’ to care,” Dr. Toomey explained. “As a Georgia designated Emergency Cardiac Care Center, Piedmont Augusta is an integral part of a growing emergency cardiac care system throughout Georgia. The department applauds Piedmont Augusta for this achievement and appreciates the contributions they make to the health and well-being of Georgians, as well as to those visiting our state.”

The mission of the Office of Cardiac Care is to improve survival rates in Georgia from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) and heart attacks through quality improvement, benchmarking and evidence-based guidelines, supported by standardized data collection and reporting system. They accomplish this by assigning designated levels to Emergency Cardiac Care Centers (Level I, II, III) for hospitals complying with Emergency Cardiac Care Center criteria and establishing protocols for EMS to diagnose, triage and transport cardiac patients to an appropriate cardiac resource hospital. 

All cardiac-designated hospitals are required to submit heart attack and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest data to the Georgia Cardiac Registry (GCaR) data reporting system, and provide data to help measure performance and improve outcomes.

​Through Emergency Cardiac Care Center Designations, EMS will know the cardiac resources available at hospitals in order to make educated transport decisions. Hospitals having this designation strengthen Georgia’s Emergency Medical Services system, ensure cardiac patients have access to the treatment they need, save lives, reduce disability and improve outcomes for cardiac patients.

“It is vitally important when you are having a cardiac event that you go to a hospital that can expertly perform any follow-up procedures or surgeries that may be necessary,” Piedmont Augusta CEO Lily Henson, M.D., explained. “Having to be transported to another hospital could play a critical role in the patient’s outcome. With this re-designation, the community can rest assured that our community has an advanced heart hospital that can take care of all their needs.”

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