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Northeast Georgia Heart Center gets national recognition

POSTED: April 2, 2013 12:33 a.m.

Sometimes saving a patient’s life is a matter of asking the right questions before and after there’s a problem.

Northeast Georgia Heart Center has received a national recognition for providing quality care to patients who have had cardiovascular disease or stroke.

The center has offices at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, as well as in Cumming, Braselton, Dawsonville, Dahlonega, Clayton and Lavonia.

At the start of this year, the center was awarded a three-year Recognition Award by the American Heart Association, American Stroke Association and the National Committee for Quality Assurance Heart/Stroke Recognition Program.

Dr. Prad Tummala, president of Northeast Georgia Heart Center, said the recognition has been received “with great satisfaction and pride by the practice.”

The program, developed in 2003, recognizes physicians who use evidence-based measures to care for and prevent secondary heart attacks or strokes in their patients.

“To have all of our physicians actually meet the quality criteria and giving these preventative care measures is a big deal to the community,” Tummala said. “It’s a recognition that we’re doing all we can to prevent recurrent events in the future.”

The program assesses key areas that are known to prevent a patient from having another heart attack or stroke. All of the physicians are consistently measuring each of their patients’ blood pressure, cholesterol, lipid profiles, use of aspirin or other antithrombotic medications, asking about smoking habits and providing tips for quitting.

Tummala said that though it might sound simple enough to measure each patient’s status, it can be difficult with a high number of patients.

“If you look at it from a national perspective these quality measures are not being met,” Tummala said. “That’s one of the reasons why we’ve actually taken an initiative to make sure we meet these quality measures. It really wasn’t difficult at all to make sure we meet these quality measures. It’s just diligence and being careful about making sure our patients are getting the right treatments.”

To receive the recognition, the center had to submit data to demonstrate that it met the program’s key care areas. All 21 cardiologists at the center met 100 percent of the recognition’s requirements.

The recognition program was developed to help support physicians and practices as they deliver high-quality care.

“We are proud to have achieved this recognition from the National Committee on Quality Assurance because it affirms our continuing commitment to providing the highest quality of cardiovascular care to our patients,” said William Beyer, CEO of the center.

While patients may not always like what the cardiologists say, Tummala said he hopes that the recognition will help patients to better understand the center’s goals — better health and outcomes for its patients.

“I’m hoping that it states that we’re really their advocates,” Tummala said. “We’ll do all we can to try to do what is best for them. I’m hoping that the trust that we have with each other continues to increase.”


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