Forrest General qualifies for American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline Recognition for heart attack care

Published 1:40 am Sunday, September 11, 2011

Forrest General Hospital recently qualified for the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline Bronze Quality Achievement Award. The award recognizes Forrest General’s commitment and success in implementing a higher standard of care thereby improving the survival and outcomes for patients suffering the most severe form of heart attack called STEMI (ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction).

Every year, almost 250,000 Americans experience a STEMI type of heart attack. Unfortunately, a significant number of victims don’t receive prompt reperfusion therapy, which is critical in restoring blood flow to the heart and interrupting the heart attack. The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline project seeks to save lives by closing the gaps that separate STEMI patients from timely access to appropriate treatment by focusing on improving the system of care for these patients.

Hospitals involved in Mission: Lifeline strive to improve care in both acute treatment measures by developing systems of care that increase access to appropriate life saving therapies  such as balloon angioplasty. These hospitals also develop mechanisms that assure that prior to discharge; appropriate patients are started on aggressive risk reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, aspirin, ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers and receive smoking cessation counseling.

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Hospitals that receive the Mission: Lifeline Bronze Performance Achievement Award have demonstrated for 90 consecutive days that at least 85 percent of eligible STEMI patients (without contraindications) are treated within specific time frames upon entering the hospital and discharged following the American Heart Association’s recommended treatment guidelines. Silver and Gold level awards are given to hospitals who demonstrate adherence to guidelines for 12-month and 24-month intervals, respectively. Forrest General has been submitting data needed to qualify for this award long enough to receive Bronze recognition for two consecutive quarters and plans to continue submitting data in anticipation of receiving Silver and Gold recognition in the future.

“Forrest General is dedicated to making its STEMI heart attack care program among the best in the country,” said Robert Wilkins, M.D., Hattiesburg Clinic interventional cardiologist, Director of Forrest General’s STEMI Care System and a Mississippi Healthcare Alliance board member. “Our success is the result of a tremendous effort from a multidisciplinary team including our Cardiologist, Emergency Department physicians, dedicated nurses and techs in the Emergency Department and cardiac catheterization lab, our EMS personnel and our colleagues in the surrounding community hospitals.

We have received and continue to have full support and commitment from hospital administration.  We are pleased to be recognized for our dedication and achievements in heart attack care with this Bronze level award. Once longer intervals of data have been submitted, we anticipate being recognized at the Silver and Gold levels in the future.”


About Mission: Lifeline

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program helps hospitals and emergency medical services develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for STEMI patients. The program works by mobilizing teams across the continuum of care to implement American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology clinical treatment guidelines. For more information, visit and