DALLAS, July, 21, 2020 —  As part of an effort to reduce avoidable hospital readmissions along with gaps in care coordination both within and across settings and suboptimal outcomes for patients, the American Heart Association has awarded the first Post-Acute Care Heart Failure Center Certification to skilled nursing facilities.

The Post-Acute Care Heart Failure Center Certification is the first of its kind to recognize skilled nursing facilities committed to following current evidence-based guidelines to reduce the hospital readmissions for heart failure patients. It was piloted with Genesis HealthCare, one of the nation’s largest provider of skilled nursing and long-term care.

The certification builds on the Association’s Get With The Guidelines® - Heart Failure by providing skilled nursing facilities with tools to implement quality improvement in heart failure treatment tailored to specific needs of a skilled nursing facility.

On average, 22.8% of skilled nursing facility patients return to the hospital during their post-acute care stay. By adhering to the guidelines and standards of the Post-Acute Care Heart Failure Center Certification, facilities can optimize patient outcomes and decrease the likelihood of readmission. Facilities also receive staff and patient education resources and individualized professional evaluation assistance. 

“Heart failure patients and caregivers are faced with the major decision of selecting a post-acute facility after surviving a cardiac event. Patients can select a certified facility with confidence because of the best practices and evaluation criteria designed by the American Heart Association that are implemented onsite,” said Michaelle Callihan, DNP, FNP-BC, CHFN, service line director for heart failure and electrophysiology at Allegheny Health Network and an Association volunteer on the Post-Acute Care Heart Failure Writing Committee.

“We’re proud to be providing impactful quality care for cardiac patients after hospital discharge. Participating in this pilot and achieving this certification across eight of our facilities illustrates the commitment we’ve made to patients living with heart failure,” said Richard Feifer, MD, MPH, FACP, chief medical officer at Genesis HealthCare.

The skilled nursing facilities achieved the certification by meeting specific standards based on current evidence-based guidelines focused on treating heart failure and its comorbidities, within a system of care.

“Participation in this certification benefits the patient and the facility by standardizing care coordination practices between discharge and the skilled nursing facility,” said Ileana L. Piña, MD, MPH, FAHA, said Ileana L. Piña, MD, MPH, FAHA, Professor of Medicine at Wayne State and a heart failure/transplant cardiologist who helped develop the criteria for the certification. “When there is clear communication between every phase of care, patients have the best opportunity for positive outcomes.”

The certification establishes a relationship with the skilled nursing facility and discharging hospital or healthcare system to bridge the gaps of delivering of post-acute between these different settings.

Eligible skilled nursing facilities in the United States can apply for this certification by contacting certification@heart.org. Continuing to evaluate and expand in the different healthcare settings like the post-acute space furthers the Association’s commitment to help people live longer, healthier lives.


American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries: (214) 706-1173

Karen Springs, (972) 259-0350, Karen.Springs@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721)