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Albany Med Among Top Five Hospitals in the U.S. Recognized for Treatment of Stroke, Heart Attack and Heart Failure
   July 28, 2006


Albany, N.Y., July 28, 2006—Albany Medical Center was one of only five hospitals in the United States to receive performance awards in all three categories of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s “Get With the Guidelines” (GWTG) program. The performance achievement awards, which were made public in the July 17 issue of US News & World Report, recognized the Medical Center’s commitment to turning ‘guidelines into lifelines’ and successfully developing a higher standard of care for cardiac and stroke patients


GWTG is a quality-improvement program which helps hospitals ensure that patients consistently receive cardiac and stroke care in accordance with the most up-to-date guidelines and recommendations in three categories—coronary artery disease, stroke, and heart failure. Only 173 hospitals in the country were lauded for their performance, and of those, only five met the guidelines in all three performance categories.


“I am delighted that the hardworking medical team, including doctors, nurses, and staff, were recognized by the American Heart and American Stroke Associations. It is a testament to the outstanding care we provide for patients who suffer from stroke, coronary artery disease, or heart failure,” said Edward Philbin, M.D., chair of the department of cardiology at Albany Med.


“This is a significant accomplishment, one that represents the work of numerous people at many levels of the organization over nearly five years. We will continue to offer top quality care by maintaining our high standards acknowledged through the GWTG program,” said Gary Bernardini, M.D., Ph.D., the Edith M. Hellman and Hellman Family Chair in Stroke Medicine.


“GWTG is about saving lives, so the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association wanted to recognize Albany Med’s contribution to quality care in a publication such as US News & World Report, which focused its July issue on the top 100 hospitals. Albany Med has implemented and maintained the appropriate standards of protocol in cardiac and stroke care for patients,” said Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., American Heart Association volunteer chairman for the national GWTG Steering Committee. “We are proud of the Center’s efforts for implementing these lifesaving treatments.”


Under the “Get With The Guidelines” program, patients are started on aggressive risk reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, aspirin, ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers in the hospital and receive smoking cessation, weight management, and diabetes counseling as well as referrals for cardiac rehabilitation before they are discharged. Hospitals that receive a GWTG award have demonstrated that during one quarter at least 85 percent of eligible coronary and stroke patients (without contraindications) are discharged following the AHA’s recommended treatments.


“Get With The Guidelines” is the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s hospital-based program designed to ensure that patients are consistently treated and discharged according to evidence-based guidelines for coronary artery disease, heart failure, and stroke. This quality improvement program empowers healthcare teams to save lives and reduce healthcare costs through helping hospitals follow evidence-based guidelines and recommendations for treating coronary artery disease, heart failure, and stroke. Experience has shown that 80,000 lives could be saved annually if the coronary artery disease (GWTG-CAD) module alone of “Get With The Guidelines” were implemented nationwide. GWTG was the first hospital-based program to receive the prestigious Innovation in Prevention Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2004. Currently more than 1200 hospitals use one or more GWTG modules. GWTG-CAD is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceutical Partnership and GWTG-Heart Failure is supported by an unrestricted grant from Glaxo Smith Kline, Inc.


Albany Medical Center is northeastern New York’s only academic health sciences center. It consists of Albany Medical College, Albany Medical Center Hospital and the Albany Medical Center Foundation, Inc. Additional information about Albany Medical Center can be found at


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