to main content Comprehensive Heart Attack Center | The Joint Commission

Excel in Heart Attack Care

This certification program, based on clinical practice guidelines and recommendations published in Circulation, is available for all Joint Commission-accredited and non-accredited hospitals. In the Circulation article, the AHA policy paper calls for the implementation of a system of care for all time-sensitive cardiovascular disorders to minimize delays in patient care. This includes EMS routing protocols to transport patients to the most appropriate level of care.

Hospitals qualifying for this new advanced certification will be recognized for meeting standards denoting the highest level of commitment for providing consistent and optimal treatment for patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) (including ST-elevated myocardial infarction (STEMI), non-ST elevated myocardial infarction (NSTEMI), and unstable angina) and complications related to ACS, such as cardiac arrest and cardiogenic shock.


Certification from The Joint Commission offers many opportunities to build and grow an outstanding heart attack program to impact patient care and outcomes. The standards provide a framework for standardization, reducing variation and risk, for a consistent approach to every patient.

What it Takes to be Certified

This certification requires hospitals:

  • To provide 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on-site coverage for primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI)  and cardiac surgical services.
  • To have a multidisciplinary team approach which offers a full range of advanced hemodynamic support for the treatment of the most complex and critically ill patients, including those with cardiogenic shock and cardiac arrest.
  • To meet 9 standardized performance measures such as ECG within 10 minutes of arrival, PPCI ≤ 90 minutes, and EMS FMC to PCI ≤ 90 minutes.
  • To collect performance measure data four months prior to the initial certification review visit.

Collaborating with the American Heart Association

The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association logosOffered in collaboration with the American Heart Association, achieving certification means you’re dedicated to providing cardiac care to your community. This patient-centric approach is better for your patients, their families, and your program.

The American Heart Association recently published a policy statement, Systems of Care for ST-Segment-Elevation Myocardial Infarction. This statement sets forth recommendations for how the ideal STEMI system of care should be designed and implemented to ensure that patients with STEMI receive the best evidence-based care at each stage in their illness.