Newswise — Neptune, NJ – July 21, 2014 – Jersey Shore University Medical Center, part of Meridian CardioVascular Network, recently received the Mission: Lifeline® Bronze Receiving Quality Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures outlined by the American Heart Association for the treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks.

Each year in the United States, approximately 300,000 people have a STEMI, or ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, caused by a complete blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it’s critical to immediately restore blood flow, either by surgically opening the blocked vessel or by giving clot-busting medication.

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program helps hospitals, emergency medical services and communities improve response times so people who suffer from a STEMI get prompt, appropriate treatment. The program’s goal is to streamline systems of care to quickly get heart attack patients from the first 911 call to hospital treatment.

Jersey Shore earned the award by meeting specific criteria and standards of performance for the quick and appropriate treatment of STEMI patients to open the blocked artery. Before patients are discharged, they are started on aggressive risk reduction therapies such as cholesterol-lowering drugs, aspirin, ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers, and they receive smoking cessation counseling if needed. Eligible hospitals must adhere to these measures at a set level for a designated period to receive the awards.

“For patients who experience a heart attack, a quick response time and efficient care is critical to a positive outcome. We call this concept ‘time is tissue’ – meaning that fast, comprehensive care from physicians can result in less damage to the heart. The American Heart Association award recognizes that Jersey Shore provides this optimal care for patients who experience a heart attack,” says Dawn Calderon, D.O., FACC, chief of cardiology, Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

“We commend Jersey Shore for this achievement award, which reflects a significant institutional commitment to improve the quality of care for their heart attack patients,” said A. Gray Ellrodt, MD, Chair of the Mission: Lifeline committee and Chief of Medicine at the Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Mass. “All too many heart attack patients in the United States still fail to receive appropriate treatment for their life-threatening condition within the recommended timeframes. We must all continue this important work to streamline and coordinate regional systems of care to save lives and prevent complications.”

About Meridian CardioVascular Network:

Meridian CardioVascular Network offers the most complete, coordinated care from prevention and wellness programs to the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease to rehabilitation and recovery. Jersey Shore, the system’s largest hospital and home of the state’s highest volume catheterization lab, is a regional cardiac surgery center providing surgical back-up for Meridian as well as non-Meridian hospitals in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Ocean Medical Center is one of the state’s largest providers of emergency coronary angioplasty for patients suffering from heart attacks. Interventional cardiologists at Southern Ocean Medical Center also have the benefit of direct access to Jersey Shore through Meridian’s digital imaging system, allowing instantaneous imaging of catheterization films to provide prompt and appropriate care for patients. The rare cases where emergent transfer is necessary have demonstrated excellent and seamless results. Additionally, Riverview Medical Center is a key provider of emergency and elective angioplasties, and Bayshore Community Hospital offers a full service catheterization lab.

About Jersey Shore University Medical Center:

Jersey Shore University Medical Center, a member of the Meridian Health family, is a not-for-profit teaching hospital and home to K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital – the first children’s hospital in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Jersey Shore is the regional provider of cardiac surgery, a program which has been ranked among the best in the Northeast, and is home to the only trauma center and stroke rescue center in the region. Through the hospital’s clinical research program, and its affiliation with Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Jersey Shore serves as an academic center dedicated to advancing medical knowledge, training future physicians and providing the community with access to promising medical breakthroughs. For more information about Jersey Shore University Medical Center call 1-800-DOCTORS, or visit

About Mission: LifelineThe American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program helps hospitals and emergency medical services develop systems of care that follow proven standards and procedures for STEMI patients. The program works by mobilizing teams across the continuum of care to implement American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Foundation clinical treatment guidelines. For more information, visit and