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Society of Chest Pain Centers “Ask a Reviewer” Q&A

Critical Pathways in Cardiology: June 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 2 - p 102
doi: 10.1097/HPC.0b013e3181e078f2

The Society of Chest Pain Centers' (SCPC) accreditation for Heart Failure (HF) and Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) is unique in many aspects. Above all we have a desire to improve cardiac care through a genuine partnership with facilities. This creates a process in which there is open dialogue where facilities are encouraged to ask questions and receive solid answers. Our popular “Ask a Reviewer” newsletter series along with regularly scheduled “Open Forums” speak to our desire to make our accreditation process collegial and collaborative. The following are questions related to SCPC HF accreditation, frequently asked by facilities, along with the answers needed to help our partners in this joint mission to improve cardiac care. Future articles will address questions regarding shared practices that have proven successful for other facilities that have achieved accreditation in the areas of HF and ACS.

Q. There seem to be a few companies that are offering a certification for heart failure. Can you tell me why we would choose the Society of Chest Pain Centers over the others?

A. While we cannot speak to what is offered by other certifying bodies, we can confidently say that the Society of Chest Pain Centers offers not a certification but a 3-year accreditation based on the SCPC written and published recommendations related to the management of the acute decompensated heart failure patient that includes both best practices and latest research. These criteria provide the framework for the accreditation process and offer the road map to successful management of these complicated patients. As with Chest Pain Center accreditation, facilities can enjoy the open dialogue that allows them to partner with SCPC to ensure success. The SCPC accreditation is not based on a compliance model but a collaborative one that looks at the processes that create a successful end result. This guidance and open dialogue is available at no additional cost to the facility seeking accreditation.

Q. We have been hearing a lot about the CMS RAC (Recovery Audit Contractors) hired to review hospital claims reimbursement. Can the SCPC HF accreditation help us avoid any recovery of monies?

A. The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 established the Medicare Recovery Audit Contractor program, known as RAC, to identify improper Medicare payments. One of the most commonly identified services for inpatient hospitals associated with overpayments is Heart Failure. When patients are placed in the wrong setting (e.g., inpatient when an outpatient admission would have been more appropriate) overages in payment to the hospital may be identified. Accreditation helps facilities by:

  • Providing a defined risk stratification protocol to ensure appropriate bed placement based on the patient's clinical presentation and initial treatment response.
  • Assisting with the development of standardized order sets to ensure appropriate documentation and evidence-based care.
  • Assisting with reducing readmissions by providing a discharge road map, used successfully by others, and a medication strategy that meets the needs of the patient.

Please visit our Website at for more information on accreditation and to view shared practice examples from other facilities. You may also contact Deb Koeppen, Director of Business Development at 419-560-7673 with your questions.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.