ST. LOUIS - Mercy Heart and Vascular Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, has been granted a three-year term of reaccreditation in echocardiography in the areas of adult transthoracic, adult transesophageal, adult stress by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC). In addition, Mercy Diagnostic Cardiology Testing has also been granted a three-year term of reaccreditation in echocardiography in the areas of adult transthoracic and adult stress by the IAC at its locations in Ballwin, Hazelwood, Fenton, South County, St. Charles and St. Louis.
Cardiovascular diseases are the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. On average, one American dies every 39 seconds of cardiovascular disease – disorders of the heart and blood vessels. The American Heart Association estimates that the direct and indirect cost for cardiovascular disease in the U.S. for 2010 was $503.2 billion.
Early detection of life threatening heart disorders and other diseases is possible through the use of echocardiography procedures performed within hospitals, outpatient centers and physicians’ offices. While these tests are helpful, there are many facets that contribute to an accurate diagnosis based on echocardiography testing. The skill of the echocardiography sonographer performing the examination, the type of equipment used, the background and knowledge of the interpreting physician and quality assurance measures are each critical to quality patient testing.
Accreditation by the IAC means that Mercy Heart and Vascular Hospital has undergone a thorough review of its operational and technical components by a panel of experts. The IAC grants accreditation only to those facilities that are found to be providing quality patient care, in compliance with national standards through a comprehensive application process including detailed case study review.
IAC accreditation is a “seal of approval” that patients can rely on as an indication that the facility has been carefully critiqued on all aspects of its operations considered relevant by medical experts in the field of echocardiography. When scheduled for an echocardiography procedure, patients are encouraged to inquire as to the accreditation status of the facility where their exam will be performed and can learn more by visiting www.intersocietal.org/echo/main/patients.htm.
IAC accreditation is widely respected within the medical community, as illustrated by the support of the national medical societies related to echocardiography, which include physicians and sonographers. Echocardiography accreditation is required in some states and regions by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and by some private insurers. However, patients should remain vigilant in making sure that their echocardiography procedures are performed within accredited facilities, because for many facilities accreditation remains a voluntary process.
Mercy Hospital St. Louis, part of Mercy’s east Missouri region, is a 979-bed comprehensive teaching hospital. The 80-acre site houses a nine-level heart and vascular hospital, a cancer center, a comprehensive children's hospital, a surgery center and a 120-bed skilled nursing center.