In July 2022, the American College of Cardiology (ACC) granted St. James Healthcare a Chest Pain Accreditation with Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (i.e., coronary angioplasty/stent(s)) in recognition of the facility’s commitment to and expertise in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating patients with chest pain.
St. James is one of just three Montana hospitals to earn this impressive qualification, along with sister-Intermountain Health facility St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings and Community Medical Center in Missoula.
“Patients can take great comfort in knowing that we’ve met and exceeded all the required standards of providing excellent clinical care in the cardiovascular world,” said Gary Bailey, St. James’ director of cardiovascular, cardiopulmonary, and imaging services. “Our highly dedicated cath lab team is available 24/7/365.”
A rigorous review
The accreditation was awarded after an intensive year-long evaluation that rigorously examined every aspect of St. James’ cardiac protocols and processes, including community outreach and education, emergency medical services, treatment procedures and follow-up care.
“They looked at every step of how we take care of a patient who’s coming in with a heart attack — and also patients who come in with chest pain but aren’t having a heart attack — from before they even enter the emergency room all the way through discharge and cardiac rehab,” Bailey said.
Streamlining processes, implementing guidelines and standards, and adopting best practices in caring for patients experiencing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack are just a few of the criteria that were considered throughout the evaluation. Hospitals that receive accreditation are equipped with a hypothermia program for post-cardiac arrest treatment and maintain a "No Diversion Policy" for out-of-system patients.
Saving lives in Butte
Having fast, convenient access to high-quality care right in their own community is a huge benefit for Butte patients who experience chest pain.
“It’s important for patients to know they have a place to go that offers good evidence-based cardiac care,” said St. James chest pain coordinator and registered nurse Deanna Montoya. “It’s proven that if we follow the ACC guidelines and can get people into our lab within 90 minutes of first medical contact, the onset of chest pain, we can save lives.”
Better services equals attracting better employees
Not only does the accreditation assure patients that they are receiving the highest level of care, but it also helps St. James attract skilled doctors, nurses, and staff.
“People want to work for a high-quality hospital that’s following guidelines and doing what’s best for patients every time they come in,” Montoya explained.
Setting the bar high
The ACC accreditation remains valid for three years and requires constant dedication to maintain quality standards.
From nursing and physicians to pharmacy and laboratory services to case management and emergency responders, the success of the program is dependent on a multidisciplinary team.
“The team meets on a monthly basis to review data and processing, making sure that the quality metrics are there, and we’ll continue to update our protocols to meet all the standards,” Bailey said. “We’ve committed ourselves to the ongoing process of achieving clinical excellence for cardiovascular services.”
“We have a strong, cohesive team that works well together,” Montoya added.
For more information about the Chest Pain Center and cardiovascular services available at St. James Healthcare in Butte, call 406.723.2500 or visit sjh-mt.org/heart.