Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Indicators - Quality Measurement
Heart failure, also known as Congestive Heart Failure or CHF, is one of the most common reasons for hospitalization. The heart is a muscle that pumps blood, with oxygen, to the body. The muscle, or pump, can become weaker due to a variety of medical conditions, most commonly myocardial infarction (heart attack) or hypertension (high blood pressure).
Heart failure can be an acute or chronic condition, and when severe require hospitalization for management. Patients with chronic heart failure also have a high readmission rate when their condition worsens. Therefore, the focus of heart failure care in the hospital must include not only acute treatment, but effective plans for treatment after discharge, to reduce the risk of future readmissions and complications.
Heart Failure Care
Patients hospitalized with heart failure need to have an evaluation of how well the muscle or pump is working. The main heart chamber that pumps the blood to the body is called the left ventricle and there are tests to measure how well that chamber is working. We call that Left Ventricular Function (LVF) Assessment. Without that assessment completed during the hospitalization or at least recently, effective treatment plans cannot be adequately designed. We measure how often that assessment has been done appropriately.
Left Ventricular Function (LVF)
If the left ventricle has been shown not to be functioning well, there are certain medications, called Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors, or Angiotensin Receptor Blockers (ARB), that are beneficial to patients with certain types of left ventricular weakness or dysfunction. They reduce the workload on the heart so that the muscle can work more effectively. We measure how often one of these medications is prescribed for patients with those types of left ventricular weakness.
Sending Patients Home
When the patient with heart failure goes home it is very important that discharge planning is thorough, with very clear instructions for care after the patient leaves the hospital. This is critical to reduce the likelihood of readmission from the condition worsening because of less than ideal management at home.
The planning, instructions and education must include:
- Levels of activity
- Appointments with the doctor(s)
- Watching weight carefully, daily.
- What to do if symptoms get worse
CHF Performance Report of Danbury Hospital
We measure how often all the required elements of discharge instructions are included for patients going home with the diagnosis of heart failure.
Medicare, or Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), requires all hospitals to track and report on a number of measures for Heart Failure Care. We have selected some of these measures to report here which we believe are most critical or most challenging. Medicare sends auditors to each hospital to ensure that the reporting is accurate. We have always been found to be reporting accurately.
You may review our performance on these and all the other Medicare mandated measures by going to the Hospital Compare web site from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.