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WWGH Reaffirmed as Accredited Chest Pain Center

Adventist Health Awards & Recognition, NW Regional Heart

The Society of Chest Pain Centers has reaffirmed Walla Walla General Hospital as an Accredited Chest Pain Center, one of only eight hospitals in Washington State to achieve this distinction. WWGH received its first seal of accreditation from the society in 2012.

“Receiving the chest pain center seal is an important distinction for the cardiology services at Walla Walla General Hospital,” says Tom Underhill, MD, chief medical officer at WWGH. “This accreditation certifies that the hospital and staff have established a track record of quality care for patients with heart attack symptoms, and highlights the importance of consistently providing care during the critical, early stages of a heart attack when treatments are most effective in helping patients recover more easily.”

The investment in an Accredited Chest Pain Center demonstrates Walla Walla General Hospital’s ongoing commitment to providing superior team-centered cardiac care. "Our accreditation illustrates that WWGH’s collaboration between our Emergency Center, cardiology team, hospitalists, nurses, and Walla Walla County EMS provides quick, quality heart care to our community when minutes matter most,” says Linda Givens, director of emergency and critical care services at WWGH. “This team ensures rapid assessment, diagnosis and high-quality care is delivered to each patient who comes to our hospital with chest pain.”

Chest pain is among the top symptoms of patients who visit the WWGH Emergency Center. The Chest Pain Center designation ensures that any patient who arrives at WWGH with chest pain, or other symptoms of a heart attack, can be confident that they are receiving care that meets or exceeds the highest national standards of care. Hospitals that receive SCPC accreditation have achieved an advanced level of expertise and continually emphasize the importance of standardized diagnostic and treatment programs. Currently, WWGH is leading Washington State in exceeding the national door-to-balloon time goal of less than 90 minutes — 100% of the time.

To become and maintain its status as an Accredited Chest Pain Center, WWGH engaged in rigorous evaluation by SCPC for its ability to assess, diagnose, and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. To Walla Walla Valley residents, this means that processes are in place that meet strict criteria aimed at:

  • Reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment
  • Treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved
  • Monitoring patients when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack to ensure that they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital

“We are proud to receive this recognition, demonstrating WWGH’s commitment to providing excellent emergency and cardiac care for residents of the Walla Walla Valley,” says Monty Knittel, WWGH president and CEO. “Maintaining our Chest Pain Center Accreditation is an important piece of our ongoing efforts to provide the best cardiac care in Walla Walla.”

Over the last few years WWGH has focused on improving the speed and quality of the Emergency Center, brought on a highly qualified interventional cardiologist, opening a cardiac catheterization lab, and started the area’s first STEMI program performing emergency angioplasties and stents.

About the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care

The Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC) is an international not-for-profit organization whose mission is to transform cardiovascular care by assisting facilities in their effort to create communities of excellence that bring together quality, cost and patient satisfaction. As the only cross-specialty Society, SCPC provides the support needed for hospital systems to effectively bridge existing gaps in treatment by providing the tools, education and support necessary to successfully navigate the changing face of healthcare. For more information on SCPC, accreditation and certification opportunities, visit, or call toll free 1 (877) 271-4176.