West Florida Hospital
October 31, 2013

Atrial Fib Certification

Pensacola, FL – West Florida Healthcare and Northwest Florida Heart Group have partnered to earn the area’s first full Atrial Fibrillation Certification status from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC), one of only 15 hospitals across the nation and three in the state of Florida to have achieved this designation.

“This certification demonstrates West Florida Healthcare’s commitment to providing the best care available to patients with atrial fibrillation,” said Brian Baumgardner, President and CEO. “This certification was made possible by the physicians and staff of the Northwest Florida Heart Group and West Florida Healthcare who work as a team to care for people with this condition. We are very proud of this accomplishment.”

The facility was also the first in the area to achieve Chest Pain Center with PCI (Percutaneous Coronary Intervention) Certification.

The physicians who were instrumental in making this certification possible were Marcelo Branco, M.D. and Farhat Mehmood, M.D., board certified Cardiac Electrophysiologists with Northwest Florida Heart Group. Electrophysiologists are physicians that are specially trained to assess and treat atrial fibrillation and other heart rhythm disorders.

“Atrial fibrillation represents a significant health problem in our nation that will, unfortunately, become more and more prevalent as the population ages,”

explained Dr. Branco. “Our goal is to help atrial fibrillation patients better manage their condition so they can lead healthier, more normal lives.”

Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia and has become recognized as a health concern that in some cases can lead to stroke and possible death. Nearly 3 million patients in the United States have atrial fibrillation and the numbers are rapidly increasing as our population ages. Atrial fibrillation patients use more healthcare services and have much higher

healthcare costs than those without the disease. SCPC’s goal is to help facilities evaluate and manage the atrial fibrillation patient more effectively, improve patient outcomes, and educate patients and healthcare providers to more efficiently care for this disease.

West Florida Healthcare has demonstrated its expertise and commitment to quality patient care by meeting or exceeding a wide set of stringent criteria and undergoing a comprehensive review by an accreditation review specialist from the SCPC. West Florida Healthcare’s protocol-driven and systematic approach to patient evaluation and management allows physicians to reduce time to treatment and to risk stratify patients to decrease their length of stay in the emergency department and the hospital. Key areas in which a facility with Atrial Fibrillation Certification must demonstrate expertise include the following:

  • Emergency Department Integration with Emergency Medical Services
  • Emergency Assessment of Patients with Atrial Fibrillation
  • Risk Stratification of the Atrial Fibrillation Patient
  • Treatment for Patients Presenting to the Emergency Department in Atrial Fibrillation
  • Atrial Fibrillation Discharge Criteria from the Emergency Department, Observation Services, or Inpatient Stay
  • Atrial Fibrillation Patient Education in the Emergency Department, Observation Services, and Inpatient Unit
  • Personnel, Competencies and Training
  • Process Improvement
  • Organizational Structure and Commitment
  • Atrial Fibrillation Community Outreach

To help the community better understand atrial fibrillation, West Florida Healthcare is offering a seminar entitled “Atrial Fibrillation: Improving Your Quality of Life” on Thursday, November 21 from 6-7 p.m. in the hospital’s 7th Floor Auditorium. Free and open to the public, the seminar will be presented by Dr. Marcelo Branco. To register or for more information, call (850) 494-3212 or visit www.westfloridahospital.com.