AHA, Joint Commission merge cardiac accreditation programs

The American Heart Association and Joint Commission have merged their separate cardiac accreditation programs to offer a single joint certification starting Jan. 1, 2019, the organizations announced this week.

The new certification will blend the AHA’s existing Cardiovascular Center of Excellence accreditation program with the Joint Commission’s Comprehensive Cardiac Center Certification—a name the new program will absorb—according to a release.

“This joint cardiac certification award will be granted to hospitals that achieve rigorous standards of care,” the release read. “Hospitals will be required to deliver integrated, coordinated and patient-centered cardiac care and communications, from the emergency department visit to diagnosis, treatment and follow-up, and through outpatient care.”

It’s not the first time the Joint Commission and AHA have joined forces. The two have partnered before in the Primary Stroke Center Certification, Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification, Acute Stroke Ready Certification, Thrombectomy-capable Stroke Center Certification and Advanced Certification for Heart Failure.

“American Heart Association and Joint Commission certification ensures that a hospital’s treatment practices and procedures meet the highest standards of cardiovascular care based on proven treatment guidelines,” Gregg C. Fonarow, MD, of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said in the release. Fonarow is a longtime volunteer for the AHA. “Patients’ confidence and trust in their healthcare facilities increase when they know it has received approval from these two leading organizations.”

Hospitals that are currently certified under Joint Commission or AHA programs will automatically transition to the new Comprehensive Cardiac Center Certification, according to the AHA, but those organizations will need to be reevaluated at the end of their current certification cycle. Practices that aren’t certified will be able to apply under the new program starting next year.