The Joint Commission and American Heart Association Set July Launch for New Joint Commission Certification Program in Heart Failure

Transitions of Care to Be Evaluated

Wilmette, Illinois, UNITED STATES

OAKBROOK TERRACE, IL--(Marketwire - May 17, 2011) - The Joint Commission, in collaboration with the American Heart Association, will launch its Disease-Specific Care Advanced Certification Program in Heart Failure in July 2011. The focus of this new certification program will target methods of providing safe, successful transitions of care as the patient moves from the inpatient setting to an outpatient setting.

The Advanced Certification in Heart Failure Care Program integrates the "2009 Focused Update: American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Heart Failure in Adults." These clinical practice guidelines include recommendations related to assessment, monitoring, management, and performance improvement of heart failure care across health care settings. To be eligible, the hospital's heart failure program must include either a hospital-based and hospital-owned outpatient heart failure clinic, or it must have a collaborative relationship with one or more attending cardiology practices, and must have achieved at least a Bronze Level performance or higher with the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines® - Heart Failure program.

Organizations seeking this certification must meet the requirements for The Joint Commission's Disease-Specific Care Certification program as well as the heart failure-specific requirements such as collecting data on Joint Commission core measures for heart failure and using the data in ongoing performance improvement activities. The heart failure requirements were developed in consultation with an external task force of experts and organizations with expertise in heart failure care, including representatives from the American Heart Association, Heart Failure Society of America and American Association of Heart Failure Nurses. These groups also provided feedback on how to evaluate heart failure programs that provide care in both inpatient and post-acute care settings.

"The Advanced Certification in Heart Failure Care Program builds on the success of the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines - Heart Failure program. By achieving advanced certification in heart failure, programs will have demonstrated their commitment to consistently delivering reliable, effective and high quality care to their heart failure patients," says Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., immediate past chair of the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines steering committee. "The Joint Commission's certification provides an important way for heart failure programs to distinguish themselves as well as foster improvements in heart failure care and outcomes."

Through the use of the standards and quality improvement tools, the Advanced Certification Program promotes successful efforts in heart failure management. These efforts include a standard method of delivering or coordinating care; implementation of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines; a secure and timely system for sharing information across settings and providers, which safeguards patient rights and privacy; a comprehensive performance improvement program which uses outcomes data to continually enhance existing treatment plans and clinical practices; and clinical practices which support patient self-management.

"Although there is no cure for heart failure, the proper treatment program can allow patients to lead full lives. The Joint Commission's certification program will help health care organizations focus on the care processes that produce the best outcomes for heart failure patients and give patients with heart failure confidence that these health care organizations are committed to quality care," says Jean Range, M.S., R.N., C.P.H.Q., executive director, Disease-Specific Care Certification, The Joint Commission.

The American Heart Association estimates that nearly 6 million Americans suffer from heart failure, a condition in which the heart can't pump enough blood to the body's other organs. Although the heart keeps working, it is not as effective as it should be. Patients with this condition are typically treated through a combination of medication and lifestyle changes.

For more information about the advanced heart failure certification program, please call 630.792.5291 or e-mail Jean Range at

About The Joint Commission:
Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 10,300 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,500 other health care organizations that provide long term care, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. The Joint Commission also provides certification of more than 2,000 disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers, and health care staffing services. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at

About the American Heart Association:
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke -- America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country.

View the multi-media release here.

Contact Information:

Media Contacts:
Elizabeth Eaken Zhani
Media Relations Manager
The Joint Commission

Cathy Lewis
Senior Communications Manager
American Heart Association