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Updates to the Advanced Disease-Specific Care Certification Programs for Heart Attack

Effective July 1, 2022, The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association (AHA) have revised current and developed new standards for the Acute Heart Attack Ready (AHAR) and Primary Heart Attack Center (PHAC) Advanced Disease-Specific Care (DSC) certification programs. The standards updates are based on recommendations published in Circulation for providing the highest level of treatment for patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) (including ST-elevated myocardial infarction (STEMI), non-ST elevated myocardial infarction, and unstable angina) and complications related to ACS, such as cardiac arrest and cardiogenic shock.

In addition, changes were made to the framework of the AHAR and PHAC certification programs as follows:

  • The AHAR certification program is for those hospitals and critical access hospitals (including freestanding emergency departments) without 24/7 on-site coverage for primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI). However, some AHARs have PPCI coverage for limited hours and will now be required to follow additional program requirements.
  • The PHAC certification program is for those hospitals and critical access hospitals that have 24/7 on-site coverage for primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI). The Joint Commission has implemented new program eligibility criteria following consultation with an advisory group of expert cardiologists to discuss the impact of percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and the volume-to-outcome relationship. Effective July 1, 2022, an organization’s annual volume requirement will be 200 PCI/year and 36 PPCI/year. In addition, the current PCI/PPCI volume requirements for individual interventional cardiologists have been removed.

Prepublication Standards:

Prepublication Standards - Effective July 1, 2022