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Published on February 11, 2014

Cone Health Heart and Vascular Center Heart Pump Program Earns Accreditation


Cone Health Heart and Vascular Center has earned a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) Certification from The Joint Commission. VADs are heart pumps that are implanted inside the body to treat heart failure. Cone Health Heart and Vascular Center was the first non-academic program in North Carolina to offer VADs to patients.

“We undergo certifications as a way to measure our performance and to continuously improve the care we deliver to our patients,” says Rich Lundy, vice president, Cone Health Heart and Vascular Services and Imaging Services. “This certification involved many departments, from nursing to rehabilitation to pharmacy. It shows you the breadth of quality across Cone Health.”

Heart failure affects nearly six million Americans. It occurs when the heartReginald Bailey with Ali Cosgrove, NP becomes too weak to keep a strong flow of blood moving through the body. Once heart failure reaches an advanced stage, a heart transplant is needed. However, due to a number of factors, not everyone is eligible for a heart transplant. Others simply cannot wait for a transplant heart to become available. Many of these patients can use a VAD.  

Cone Health Heart and Vascular Center underwent a rigorous on-site review in early January. The VAD program was evaluated for meeting The Joint Commission’s standards, clinical practice guidelines and performance measures. These include:

  • Staffing and facility infrastructure to support VAD 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 VADs.

The Joint Commission certification is the latest quality achievement of Cone Health Heart and Vascular Center. The center was recently ranked in the top 10 percent in the nation in medical excellence for major cardiac surgery by CareChex®, a division of Comparion.

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