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UHS Cardiac Rehab earns national certification

August 30, 2017

The UHS Cardiac Rehabilitation Program has earned three-year certification for adherence to the national guidelines of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR).

The program has received the distinction several times since 2004.

"This is the gold standard for cardiac rehabilitation programs," said Linda Wasser, administrative director II of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation at UHS. "There is no other certification that is more outstanding than this. To achieve this level of accreditation ensures that we are providing a high-quality service for every patient, every day."

Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program for patients who have experienced any type of heart condition. The goal is to stabilize, slow or even reverse the progression of cardiovascular disease.

Medical research shows that an effective cardiac rehabilitation program reduces mortality, helps patients recover quicker and improves their physical, mental and social functioning.

As part of the certification process, the AACVPR reviews a 12-month program history of clinical, behavioral, nutritional and service outcomes to track improvements in patients’ overall health and fitness after completing the rehabilitation program. The association also evaluates the quality of the facility and the credentials of the program staff.

AACVPR program certification is the only peer-review accreditation process designed to review individual programs for adherence to standards and guidelines developed and published by the AACVPR and other professional societies.

During the three-month-long application process, which requires extensive documentation of the program's practices, each program is reviewed by the AACVPR National Certification Committee and certification is awarded by the AACVPR Board of Directors.

The most recent review shows that UHS' program makes a positive difference in the health outcomes of its patients. Cardiac Rehab at UHS Hospitals creates an individualized program for each patient and adjusts the plan, as needed, based on the patient's progress.

"Our goals are to improve patients' cardiovascular status and provide the tools and education they need to prevent further heart disease," said Cathleen Eggleston, RN, nursing coordinator of UHS Cardic Rehab. "Each patient is closely monitored for their response to exercise, and they work closely with their case manager to ensure that individual needs and goals are met."

AACVPR certification plalys an important role in the process by providing resources and direction on an ongoing basis, ensuring the highest level of care, Ms. Eggleston said.

Cardiac Rehab was started at UHS in 1977 and has provided service to thousands of residents in the Southern Tier of New York and Northern Tier of Pennsylvania.

Located at UHS Binghamton General Hospital, the program is equipped with a state-of-art cardiac rehab monitoring system and top-of-the-line exercise equipment.

The staff includes a dedicated team of cardiac care nurses and exercise physiologists with special training in cardiac rehabilitation.

Founded in 1985, the AACVPR is a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to the mission of reducing morbidity, mortality and disability from cardiovascular and pulmonary disease through education, prevention, rehabilitation, research and disease management.

Central to its mission is improvement in quality of life for patients and their families.