Christiana Care Health System’s Center for Heart & Vascular Health has earned Advanced Certification from The Joint Commission for its Left Ventricular Assist Device Program for treatment of patients with advanced heart failure.

Christiana Care’s program is one of only 124 in the U.S. to receive The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval. Christiana Care launched its Left Ventricular Assist Device Program in 2011 and is the only hospital in Delaware to offer the service.

The battery-powered left ventricular assist device is implanted during open-heart surgery and replaces the pumping action of the heart. The latest devices are smaller, more durable and improve quality of life for patients in many ways.

Patients with advanced heart failure have often reached their maximum doses of medications and may have undergone coronary bypass or valve operations. The left ventricular assist device can represent a bridge to heart transplantation, a bridge to recovery or a “destination therapy” if transplantation is not an option.

During an on-site review in July, Christiana Care demonstrated compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety in disease-specific care as well as ventricular assist device destination therapy-specific standards, clinical practice guidelines and performance measures. The certification award recognizes Christiana Care’s dedication to continuous compliance with The Joint Commission’s state-of-the-art standards.

“Joint Commission advanced certification underscores Christiana Care’s commitment to partner with our heart failure patients to deliver exceptional quality and value,” said Timothy Gardner, M.D., medical director of Christiana Care’s Center for Heart & Vascular Health. “The Joint Commission provides us a framework to continually improve the care we provide,” he said.

“Achieving Joint Commission advanced certification reflects the passion of our high performing, multidisciplinary team to provide the best care experience and to deliver outstanding quality outcomes to patients with advanced heart failure,” said Mitchell Saltzberg, M.D., medical director of Christiana Care’s Heart Failure and Mechanical Circulatory Assist programs.

The Joint Commission’s advanced certification in ventricular assist device therapy, developed in response to Medicare requirements, provides standards for hospitals related to:

  • Staffing and facility infrastructure to support ventricular assist device placements.
  • Participation in a national, audited registry for patients who have received mechanically assisted circulatory support devices.
  • Volume requirements for board certified cardiac surgeons who place ventricular assist devices.

Christiana Care received The Joint Commission’s advanced certification in heart failure in 2011, the only heart-failure program in Delaware with the Gold Seal of Approval. Nationally recognized specialists at Christiana Care provide innovative care for people with heart failure, effectively managing symptoms and slowing the progression of the disease. At Christiana Care, people with heart failure receive effective treatments based on the most current medical guidelines and scientific research.

Each year, more than half a million Americans are diagnosed with heart failure. Almost 1 million people each year are hospitalized for heart failure and related problems.

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. An independent, not-for-profit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care.