Mercy Hospital Fort Smith Receives Chest Pain Center with PCI Accreditation

October 2, 2015

FORT SMITH, Ark.– Mercy Hospital Fort Smith has received Chest Pain Center with PCI Accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC). The accreditation is effective for three years. 

Ryan Gehrig, president of Mercy Hospital Fort Smith, said this accreditation is the culmination of a year-long process that included SCPC’s examination of the hospital and its policies, processes and performance in diagnosing and treating patients who are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack. “Only nine hospitals in the state of Arkansas are CPC accredited. This validates the standard of care we provide at Mercy Hospital Fort Smith and will be an enormous benefit for those in our region who suffer from acute cardiac symptoms. We must also thank our local EMS partners and the critical role they play in heart attack care. They identify patients’ needs quickly and notify us so we can prepare when the patient comes through our doors. This collaboration results in improved outcomes for our patients,” said Gehrig.

According to Jeffry Blackwell, MD, Mercy Clinic cardiologist, the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association standard of care for treatment of patients having heart attacks specifies that blood flow to a blocked artery should be restored within 90 minutes from the time the patient enters the Emergency Department. “I am proud to say that Mercy Hospital Fort Smith consistently achieves this goal in less than 60 minutes,” Blackwell said. 

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 people dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. SCPC’s goal is to significantly reduce the mortality rate of these patients by teaching the public to recognize and react to the early symptoms of a possible heart attack, reduce the time that it takes to receive treatment, and increase the accuracy and effectiveness of treatment.

An Accredited Chest Pain Center’s evidence-based, protocol-driven and systematic approach to cardiac patient care allows clinicians to reduce time to treatment during the critical early stages of a heart attack. Chest pain centers better monitor patients when it is not clear whether or not a patient is having a coronary event. Such monitoring ensures patients are neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted.

With the increase in chest pain centers came the need to establish standards and adopt best practices designed to improve the consistency and quality of care provided to patients. SCPC’s CPC Accreditation process ensures that hospitals meet or exceed a wide set of stringent criteria and undergo a comprehensive onsite review by a team of accreditation review specialists. Hospitals that received SCPC CPC Accreditation status have achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack. They emphasize the importance of standardized diagnostic and treatment programs that provide more efficient and effective evaluation as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment of patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms. They also serve as a point of entry into the healthcare system to evaluate and treat other medical problems, and they help to promote a healthier lifestyle in an attempt to reduce the risk factors for heart attack.

By achieving SCPC’s Chest Pain Center with PCI Accreditation status, Mercy Hospital Fort Smith demonstrated expertise in the following areas:

  • Integrating the emergency department with the local emergency medical system
  • Assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients quickly
  • Effectively treating patients with low risk for acute coronary syndrome and no assignable cause for their symptoms
  • Continually seeking to improve processes and procedures
  • Ensuring the competence and training of Accredited Chest Pain Center personnel
  • Maintaining organizational structure and commitment
  • Having a functional design that promotes optimal patient care
  • Supporting community outreach programs that educate the public to promptly seek medical care if they display symptoms of a possible heart attack

About the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care

The Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC) is an international nonprofit organization that focuses on transforming cardiovascular care by assisting facilities in their effort to create cardiovascular centers of excellence that deliver quality, cost and patient satisfaction. As the only cross-specialty organization, SCPC provides the support needed for individual hospitals and hospital systems to effectively reduce variations of care and bridge existing gaps in treatment by providing the tools, education and support necessary to improve patient outcomes.

For more information on SCPC’s accreditation and certification opportunities, visit, or call toll free 1-877-271-4176.

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