American College of Cardiology patient navigator program completes hospital selection

October 28, 2014

WASHINGTON (Oct. 28, 2014) -- The American College of Cardiology today announced 35 selected hospitals that are pioneering a team approach to keep patients healthy and at home following admission for heart attack or heart failure. The hospitals from across the country are the first participants in the ACC Patient Navigator Program, which is the first program of its kind in cardiology and supports national efforts to reduce unnecessary patient readmissions.

"The Patient Navigator Program is a unique collaboration between the cardiovascular care team, patients and families to manage the stress of hospitalization for complex conditions in a way that allows patients to return home, remain healthy and avoid the need for readmission whenever possible," said ACC President Patrick T. O'Gara, M.D., FACC. "The program coincides with national initiatives to reduce readmission rates for patients with cardiovascular conditions. More importantly, it will directly benefit patients and their families."

Nearly one in five Medicare patients hospitalized with heart attack and one in four Medicare patients hospitalized with heart failure are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, often for conditions seemingly unrelated to their original diagnosis. Readmissions can be related to issues ranging from the stresses of the initial hospitalization, to patient fragility at time of discharge, a lack of understanding of discharge instructions, and the inability to carry out discharge instructions.

As of Oct. 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services increased penalties for hospitals with excessive 30-day readmission rates for heart attack, heart failure and three other non-cardiac conditions to a maximum of 3 percent of related CMS reimbursements. Penalties were implemented beginning in 2012 and maximum penalties have increased annually by 1 percentage point.

After an initial implementation and assessment period, hospitals in the Patient Navigator Program will implement a variety of evidence-based processes to help their patients avoid readmissions. Processes can include scheduling seven-day follow up appointments and discussing and providing the patient with documentation of their treatment regimen, all prescribed medications and community resources. Established programs will serve as models that can be implemented in other hospitals as the initiative grows. AstraZeneca is the founding sponsor of the ACC Patient Navigator Program.

"It is an exciting milestone to see all 35 hospitals enrolled in the ACC Patient Navigator Program because now more patients and caregivers will have access to the support and services provided by the Patient Navigator teams in hospitals across the country," said Gregory F. Keenan, M.D., Vice President and U.S. Head Medical Officer, AstraZeneca. "At AstraZeneca, we know that cardiovascular disease impacts each patient differently, and the needs of patients and caregivers are distinct and personal following a heart attack. That's why we're proud to be the founding sponsor of this program, and our hope is that supporting initiatives like this can help make a meaningful difference for patients and their families."

Below is a list of the 35 participating hospitals, chosen because of their commitment to quality as demonstrated by participation in the National Cardiovascular Data Registry and Hospital to Home programs:
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Additional information on ACC Patient Navigator Program is available at http://www.CVQuality.ACC.org/PatientNavigator.

The American College of Cardiology is a 47,000-member medical society that is the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team. The mission of the College is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College operates national registries to measure and improve care, provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research and bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists who meet stringent qualifications. For more information, visit cardiosource.org/ACC.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit http://www.astrazeneca-us.com.

American College of Cardiology

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