Contra Costa Honored for Timely Treatment of Heart Attacks
Contra Costa Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline Bronze Award for its work optimizing the care of heart attack patients on the way to the hospital and in local emergency rooms.
EMS, a division of Contra Costa Health Services, is one of 123 emergency medical systems, hospitals and fire departments honored with this annual award in 2015. Contra Costa received the bronze award for the second year in a row.
The Heart Association evaluates emergency care providers based on how well their planning, training and policies reflect national standards for treating patients with severe heart attacks, and how quickly and consistently those practices are followed.
“Every second matters when a heart attack is occurring. We track every moment, from 911 call to ambulance to hospital, looking for ways to save more lives and reduce or even prevent permanent damage from heart attacks,” said Patricia Frost, EMS director. “It is an honor to be recognized for that effort by the American Heart Association.”
Contra Costa EMS supervises emergency ambulance service in the county, and coordinates emergency medical care at its hospitals.
To receive the award, EMS showed that its providers met criteria in at least 75 percent of heart-related emergency calls over several months in 2014, including whether medics used 12-lead electrocardiogram machines to help diagnose the type and severity of heart attack on the way to the hospital, and how quickly proper treatment began once there for patients with specific, high-risk conditions.
The Mission: Lifeline program helps hospitals and EMS agencies develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for treating patients with ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI), the clinical name for the most severe and dangerous form of heart attack.
More than 250,000 people experience this form of heart attack in the U.S. every year, and heart disease is the second-leading cause of death in Contra Costa County.