Chest Pain Accreditation: Why Is It Important?

By Bernnie Kennedy, RN, BSN
Director, Cardiology/Nursing Supervision
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center
And Karen Yates, RN, BSN
Cardiac Stroke Coordinator,
Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

While amazing advances have been made in diagnosing and treating heart disease, the fact remains that it is the number-one killer of men and women in the United States. February is Heart Month, and offers the chance to highlight not only the stark facts behind this disease, but also the spectacular successes that have been made in preventing and treating it.

One of those successes is qualifying as a certified chest pain center (CPC) with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). This level of accreditation means the hospital has an interventional cardiologist available 24/7 and meets or exceeds national cardiovascular standards. It signifies streamlined processes for improved outcomes and demonstrates that it is an environment that encourages professional development and growth.

The accreditation process usually takes a year to complete, but Methodist Mansfield Medical Center received the designation in only five months thanks to extraordinary teamwork, attention to documentation, commitment to ongoing communication, and redesigning care processes to achieve the shortest door-to-balloon time possible while achieving the best possible outcomes. The local EMS providers became our true partners and continue to support our efforts to raise the bar for cardiovascular care. Within the Methodist Health System, Methodist Richardson Medical Center also has an accredited CPC with PCI.

Why is a CPC important to clinicians? Clinicians want to provide the best care possible for their patients in the shortest amount of time. Nothing’s more frustrating than having to transfer the patient to another facility during a life-threatening cardiovascular emergency. If your career has taken you down the cardiovascular care path, wouldn’t you rather work for an organization that has achieved CPC status?

In a 168-bed hospital like Methodist Mansfield, clinicians don’t usually expect to see the kind of cardiovascular diagnostics and treatment we are providing such as vascular surgery, open-heart procedures, valve repairs, atrial septal defect repair, and more. Instead of transferring patients to other facilities, we’ve become a regional referral center for heart care.

We’re proud that Methodist Mansfield has earned this prestigious CPC designation, and we think it’s important for the community to know what this means. That’s why we have taken on the challenge of educating women about their heart health. Even today, with all of the recent attention to heart disease, many women are not aware of the facts.

Women often experience atypical heart attack symptoms. With the CPC designation, women coming to Methodist Mansfield for emergency heart care are treated by clinicians who are trained to look for atypical symptoms such as exhaustion, back pain, and jaw pain as opposed to male-associated heart attack symptoms such as left arm and chest pain.

This month, we are again supporting the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women activities. We invite you to join us in our journey to improve cardiovascular care in Mansfield, the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and North Texas.

Maybe it’s time to do something good for your heart and join us. To learn more, visit

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