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Heart Attack Care Earns Gold Seal

December 9, 2010
Somerset Medical Center is golden when it comes to the care of heart attack patients. The Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest and largest health care accreditation organization, has awarded the medical center its Gold Seal of Approval™ for providing high quality care for patients with acute myocardial infarction (heart attack). 

The medical center’s cardiology services recently underwent an extensive on-site evaluation by a team of Joint Commission reviewers to obtain certification as a Disease-Specific Care Program for acute myocardial infarction. The program is evaluated against Joint Commission standards through an assessment of its processes and ability to evaluate and improve care within its own organization, as well as interviews with patients and staff. 

“This certification means Somerset Medical Center does the right things and does them well for acute myocardial infarction patients,” says Jean E. Range, M.S., R.N., C.P.H.Q., executive director, Disease-Specific Care Certification, Joint Commission. 

“Somerset Medical Center voluntarily pursued this comprehensive, independent evaluation to enhance the safety and quality of care we provide,” says Maureen Schneider, PhD (c), MSN, MBA, RN, senior vice president of clinical program development and chief nursing officer at Somerset Medical Center. “We’re proud to achieve this distinction. It is a testament to our skilled cardiologists, nurses and technicians, who are committed to ensuring the best outcomes for our patients.”

Somerset Medical Center’s cardiology program is one of the most experienced in the state, with the third-largest volume of cardiac procedures of all hospitals without cardiac surgery.

“Our experience sets us apart,” says Chandreshwar Shahi, MD, chief of cardiology at Somerset Medical Center. “Our community can be assured that they are getting the highest quality cardiac care.” 

“Caring for patients who have had a heart attack is truly a team effort,” says Nancy Seyler, BSN, RN, coordinator of Somerset Medical Center’s acute myocardial infarction program. “Staff throughout the medical center are involved in their care, from our Emergency Medical Services to our Emergency Department staff to our Cardiology and Rehabilitation Departments. Working together, we are continually looking at ways to do things better to benefit our patients.”

The medical center’s cardiology services include emergency and elective coronary angioplasty services and a full range of diagnostic services, including cardiac catheterizations, electrocardiograms, cardiac holter monitoring, stress tests, cardiac ultrasound testing, transesophageal echocardiogram, pediatric diagnostic services and tilt table testing. A three-phase cardiac rehabilitation program is offered for patients who have recently suffered a heart attack or who are recovering from an angioplasty, cardiac surgery or heart transplant.

The medical center is also conducting a five-year study of 250 Central New Jersey student athletes to assess their risk for sudden cardiac death and the future development of heart disease. 

The Joint Commission launched its Disease-Specific Care Certification program in 2002. It is the first program of its kind in the country to certify disease management programs. A list of programs certified by the Joint Commission is available at

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 18,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States, including more than 9,500 hospitals and home care organizations, and more than 6,300 other health care organizations that provide long term care, behavioral health care, laboratory and ambulatory care services. In addition, The Joint Commission also provides certification of more than 1,000 disease-specific care programs, primary stroke centers, and health care staffing services. Learn more about The Joint Commission at