Pondera Medical Center Receives Cardiac Recognition Award

Pondera Medical Center was recognized with the Cardiac Recognition Award at the Montana Hospital Association’s annual meeting in Billings on September 19th. The Cardiac Recognition Award is sponsored by the Cardiovascular Health Program within the state health department. The Recognition Award singles out Critical Access Hospitals who demonstrate that they have the infrastructure and commitment to provide high quality care for patients with acute coronary syndrome, which includes heart attack. Receiving the Cardiac Recognition confirms Pondera Medical Center meets high standards related to the utilization of evidence-based cardiac order-sets and protocols, provides laboratory services 24/7, has a well thought out transfer protocol and has administrative commitment to treating heart attack patients.

This is the 9th year that the Cardiac Recognition Award was presented, and Pondera Medical Center is one of 21 Critical Access Hospitals to qualify for the award. Requirements for the recognition include tracking and reporting key cardiac outcomes, using outcomes data to initiate quality improvement activities and coordinating regular healthcare provider cardiac trainings.

This recognition is a testament to hard work and dedication on improving cardiac care in the Emergency Department from the entire team. Pondera Medical Center received a plaque and $1,000 check upon being recognized at the MHA Convention. But perhaps the most valuable component of this award was hosting the Montana Mobile Sim Lab at our facility on September 23rd.

The Sim Lab is a bus which houses an incredibly innovative lab that works with teams and organization across Montana. The simulations increase team performance, address communication dynamics, reduce medical errors, help staff stay sharp, and improve patient outcomes. The components are designed to run life-like rehearsals for the very rare and very dangerous patient care events, such as cardiac events. Our Acute Team and EMS team had the opportunity to train in the Simulator yesterday with the cutting-edge technology and life-like "patients" who could breathe, talk, blink, answer questions and even deliver a baby!

Pondera Medical Center is very grateful and humbled by the opportunity and award! We understand that heart disease is prevalent in Montana and the entire United States. We recognize our responsibility as the area leaders in Healthcare to be as prepared as possible and provide the best response possible for a heart event. PMC Administration says of the award, “This was a team effort to hold ourselves to a high standard of preparation and quality service. So, all the credit in the world to our Cardiac team! Heart events are some of the scariest experiences for both the patients and families. We are confident in our ability to serve our community and we’re proud of the work we’ve done, not only for this recognition, but also our efforts to educate our community on heart disease. Staying active and weight management, smoking cessation, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol… these are all risk factors we have tried to address to be

The Acute Cardiac team using the SIM Lab.

proactive about heart disease and other diseases. It’s our job to help our community be well; but also to be the best care givers we can be when things happen, because they do happen! We are looking forward to taking this award, as well as our others, into our plans for 2020 with some Quality projects and overall goals!”

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in both Montana and the United States. Last year, over 3,000 Montanans died from the impact of heart disease. Symptom recognition and timely, high quality treatment are important factors in reducing death from heart attack.

Know the signs and symptoms of heart attack:

  • Discomfort in the chest that does not go away after a short period of time

  • Discomfort in the arm, shoulder, jaw or upper back

  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort

  • Breaking out into a cold sweat, unexplained nausea, dizziness, palpitations or fatigue

For more information about heart disease, please visit: If you or a loved one is concerned about your risk for heart disease or a heart event, please call Pondera Medical Center Rural Health Clinic to schedule a visit with a healthcare Provider!

Dr. Jay Taylor, along with Acute Care nursing staff, listens and prepares for heart event simulation.



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