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San Joaquin Community Hospital Receives Chest Pain Accreditation

Awards & Recognition

San Joaquin Community Hospital received full Cycle II accreditation with Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) from the Chest Pain Accreditation Review Committee on June 10, 2009. Accreditation expires June 9, 2012. With the addition of the Nationally Accredited Chest Pain Center, SJCH becomes the first hospital between Los Angeles and San Francisco to house both a Nationally Accredited Chest Pain Center and Nationally Certified Stroke Center.

“Taking the initiative to get accredited as a Chest Pain Center shows how dedicated we are to the health of our community,” said SJCH President and CEO Robert J. Beehler. “In today’s changing world, it’s vital that we continue to challenge ourselves to provide top-quality, all-inclusive care to the people of Bakersfield and Kern County. It’s a commitment we’ve made by going the extra mile to become a Nationally Accredited Chest Pain Center.”

Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in the United States, with 600,000 dying annually of heart disease. More than five million Americans visit hospitals each year with chest pain. The goal of the Society of Chest Pain Centers 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.

“Much like treating a stroke swiftly preserves the brain, faster attention given to a heart attack saves heart muscle,” said Stella Williams, RN and SJCH Chest Pain Center coordinator. “So the faster we can get in there and unblock the artery, even in mild cases, the longer the heart can thrive. The timely response is what separates Accredited Chest Pain Centers from the rest."

The Chest Pain Center’s protocol-driven and systematic approach to patient management allows physicians to reduce time to treatment during the critical early stages of a heart attack, when treatments are most effective, and to better monitor patients when it is not clear whether they are having a coronary event. Such observation helps ensure that a patient is neither sent home too early nor needlessly admitted. With the rise of Chest Pain Centers came the need to establish standards designed to improve the consistency and quality of care provided to patients. The Society’s accreditation process insures centers meet or exceed quality-of-care measures in acute cardiac medicine.

The Chest Pain Center at SJCH has demonstrated its expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding a wide set of stringent criteria and completing on-site evaluations by a review team from the Society of Chest Pain Centers.

Key areas in which a Chest Pain Center must demonstrate expertise include:

  • 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 Chest Pain Center personnel competency and training
  • 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 Chest Pain Centers (SCPC)
The Society of Chest Pain Centers is a patient centric non-profit international professional organization focused upon improving care for patients with acute coronary syndromes and other related maladies. Established in 1998, the Society is dedicated to patient advocacy and focusing on ischemic heart disease. Central to its mission is the question, “What is right for the patient?” In answer, the Society promotes protocol based medicine, often delivered through a Chest Pain Center model to address the diagnosis and treatment of acute coronary syndromes, heart failure, and to promote the adoption o process improvement science by healthcare providers. To best fulfill this mission, the Society of Chest Pain Centers provides accreditation to facilities striving for optimum Chest Pain Center care. SCPC is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.

For more information on the Society of Chest Pain Centers visit, or contact Robert Lipetz, Executive Director at (614) 442-5950 or