Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines® Stroke Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award and Heart Failure Gold Quality Achievement Award. These national awards recognize St. Mary’s commitment and success in implementing excellent care for heart failure and stroke by ensuring patients receive treatment according to nationally accepted standards and recommendations.

To receive these Get With The Guidelines (GWTG) Gold and Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Awards, St. Mary’s achieved at least two or more consecutive 12 month intervals of 85 percent or higher adherence to all GWTG Quality Achievement indicators for both heart failure and stroke, and achieved at least 75 percent or higher compliance with 6 of 10 GWTG Quality Measures during that same period of time, which are reporting initiatives to measure quality of care. St. Mary’s has also been placed on AHA/ASA’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll. This honor is awarded to hospitals in which emergency teams are able to provide acute ischemic stroke patients IV t-PA treatment in 60 minutes or less of arrival at least 50 percent of the time.

These awards come on the heels of HealthGrades’ designation of Carondelet St. Mary’s as a Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence for both this year and last, an honor which places St. Mary’s among the top five percent of hospitals nationwide for clinical excellence.

“Our physicians, associates and patients have known for some time that the care provided at St. Mary’s Hospital is among the best they can receive anywhere,” noted Dorothy Sawyer, Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Mary’s. “We are proud to once again be honored by the American Heart and American Stroke Associations for our care in these areas.

Hospitals being honored for following the GWTG protocols will be listed by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association in an advertisement in the July U.S. News & World Report magazine. In 2011, St. Mary’s also received the GWTG Heart Failure Gold Quality Achievement and the Stroke Silver-Plus Award.

“Carondelet St. Mary’s is to be commended for its commitment to implementing standards of care and protocols for treating stroke patients,” said Lee H. Schwamm, M.D., Chair of the GWTG National Steering Committee and Director of the TeleStroke and Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “The full implementation of acute care and secondary prevention recommendations and guidelines is a critical step in saving the lives and improving outcomes of stroke patients.”

GWTG encourages the use of “teachable moments,” the time soon after a patient has had a stroke or cardiac event when they are most likely to listen to and follow their healthcare professionals’ guidance. Studies demonstrate that patients who are taught how to manage their risk factors while still in the hospital reduce their risk of a second heart attack or stroke.

“Stroke and significant cardiac events are increasing among our aging population,” said Dr. Amy Beiter, Chief Medical Officer of St. Mary’s Hospital. “Now is the time for physicians, nurses and hospital care teams to be focused on providing the highest quality of care for these conditions. At St. Mary’s, we are energized by this acknowledgement for our caregivers who strive to perform at the highest level achievable each and every day.”

About Carondelet Health Network Located in Tucson, Arizona, Carondelet Health Network is a Catholic, not-for-profit healthcare system dedicated to responding to the health, prevention, education, and wellness needs of Southern Arizonans. Carondelet was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet 132 years ago. Carondelet’s Tucson facilities include St. Mary's Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, Carondelet Heart & Vascular Institute and Carondelet Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and in Nogales, Arizona, Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital. Carondelet’s family of services also include nearly two dozen primary and specialty care offices, an ambulatory surgery center, several imaging centers, Hospice and Palliative Care, and a variety of other outpatient services. Carondelet Health Network is a ministry of Ascension Health, the nation's largest Catholic, not-for-profit healthcare system. In Fiscal Year 2011, Carondelet provided nearly $52 million in Community Benefit to improve the health of our community and increase access to healthcare. More information about Carondelet Health Network is available at www.carondelet.org.

About Get with The Guidelines Get With The Guidelines® is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based quality improvement program that empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs by helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations. For more information, visit www.heart.org/quality.