Saint Francis Receives American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award

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Award demonstrates Saint Francis’ commitment to quality care for heart failure patients 

(Hartford, Conn.  July 8, 2014) — Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center has received the Get With The Guidelines®–Heart Failure Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Foundation secondary prevention guidelines for heart failure patients. 

This marks the third consecutive year that Saint Francis has been recognized with the Gold Plus quality achievement award.   

Get With The Guidelines–Heart Failure is a quality improvement program that helps hospital teams provide the most up-to-date, research-based guidelines with the goal of speeding recovery and reducing hospital readmissions for heart failure patients.  

Saint Francis earned the award by meeting specific quality achievement measures for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure patients at a set level for a designated period. These measures include proper use of medications and aggressive risk-reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, diuretics and anticoagulants while patients are in the hospital. Before patients are discharged, they also receive education on managing their heart failure and overall health, as well as referrals for cardiac rehabilitation. 

 Saint Francis is the only hospital in Connecticut to be named to the association’s Target: Heart Failure Honor Roll. This initiative provides hospitals with educational tools, prevention programs and treatment guidelines developed to reduce the risk of heart failure patients ending up back in the hospital. Hospitals are required to meet criteria that improves medication adherence, provides early follow-up care and coordination and enhances patient education. The goal is to reduce hospital readmissions and help patients improve their quality of life in managing this chronic condition.

“Saint Francis is dedicated to improving the quality of care for our heart failure patients and implementing the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines–Heart Failure program helps us to accomplish this goal by tracking and measuring our success in meeting internationally-respected guidelines,” said Daniel Diver, M.D., Chief of Cardiology, Saint Francis Care. “This recognition shows that we are on the right track and we’re very proud of our team for achieving this honor for the third year in a row.” 

 “Following these guidelines is a crucial step in prolonging the lives of heart failure patients. We are fully committed to maintaining this very high level of performance,” said Richard Soucier, M.D., Director, Congestive Heart Failure Unit at Saint Francis.

“We are pleased to recognize Saint Francis for their commitment to heart failure care,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H., national chairman of the Get With The Guidelines steering committee and Executive Director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Studies have shown that hospitals that consistently follow Get With The Guidelines quality improvement measures can reduce patients’ length of stays and 30-day readmission rates and also reduce disparity gaps in care.” 

According to the American Heart Association, about 5.1 million people suffer from heart failure.  Each year, 670,000 new cases are diagnosed and more than 275,000 people will die of heart failure. However, many heart failure patients can lead a full life when their condition is managed with proper medications and devices and with healthy lifestyle changes. 

About Saint Francis Care 

Saint Francis Care is an integrated healthcare delivery system established by Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, an anchor institution in north central Connecticut since 1897.  Licensed for 617 beds and 65 bassinets, it is a major teaching hospital and the largest Catholic hospital in New England.  Other major entities of Saint Francis Care include The Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital, the Connecticut Joint Replacement Institute, the Hoffman Heart and Vascular Institute of Connecticut, the Saint Francis/Mount Sinai Regional Cancer Center, the Joyce D. and Andrew J. Mandell Center for Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care and Neuroscience Research, and Saint Francis HealthCare Partners.  Johnson Memorial Medical Center, parent organization of Johnson Memorial Hospital, Evergreen Health Care Center, and Home and Community Health Services is also a Saint Francis Care Partner.  Saint Francis Care’s services are supported by a network of five major Access Centers and eight additional medical office centers sited throughout the region.  For more information, visit  

About Get With The Guidelines 

Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations.  For more information, visit