DALLAS and OAKBROOK TERRACE, Illinois, January 19, 2021 —In an effort to promote the most effective care for patients experiencing the deadliest type of heart attacks, the American Heart Association® and The Joint Commission today announced the launch of the Comprehensive Heart Attack Center (CHAC) certification program. Starting July 1, 2022, the new Advanced Disease-Specific Care (DSC) certification, will be available to all hospitals.

CHAC certification is based on clinical practice guidelines and recommendations published in the American Heart Association’s premier peer-reviewed journal Circulation that call for the implementation of a system of care for all time-sensitive cardiovascular disorders in an effort to minimize delays in patient care, including emergency medical services’ routing protocols to transport patients to the most appropriate level of care. Hospitals certified under this program must also meet the characteristics for a Level I STEMI Center (most comprehensive). This is the latest in a series of advanced cardiac certifications offered collaboratively from the American Heart Association, a global force for longer, healthier lives for all, and the Joint Commission, a global driver of quality improvement and patient safety in healthcare. 

“The recent recommendations from the American Heart Association provide new guidance on how best to care for patients experiencing the deadliest types of heart attacks,” said Alice K. Jacobs, M.D., Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs at Boston University Medical Center, volunteer expert and past president for the American Heart Association. “These are the heart attacks where survival is measured in minutes – and rapid delivery of guideline-directed care is essential for survival. Providing evidence-based care that improves the quality of care and outcomes for patients is central to the work of the American Heart Association.“

CHAC certified hospitals will be recognized for meeting standards that denote the highest level of commitment to providing consistent and optimal treatment for patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS), including ST-elevated myocardial infarction (STEMI), non-ST elevated myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) and unstable angina, as well as complications related to ACS such as cardiac arrest and cardiogenic shock.

“With the addition of the Comprehensive Heart Attack Center certification, states, regions and communities now have a comprehensive framework to build an effective system of care for patients at highest risk,” says Patrick Phelan, MBA, executive director, Hospital Certification Business Development, The Joint Commission. “The new program joins our existing heart attack certifications with the American Heart Association, including Primary Heart Attack Center (Level II STEMI Center) and Acute Heart Attack Ready (Level III STEMI Center) to help hospitals elevate their cardiac programs – reducing variation and risk for a more consistent approach to every patient.”

In order to qualify for the certification, hospitals must provide 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week on-site coverage for primary percutaneous coronary intervention and cardiac surgical services. Additionally, they must have a multidisciplinary team approach that offers a full range of advanced hemodynamic support for the treatment of the most complex and critically ill patients, including those with cardiogenic shock and cardiac arrest, across the continuum of care.

Performance measure expectations for the new certification program are available on The Joint Commission website. The standards will also be included in the July 1, 2022 version of E-dition and hard copy update of the Comprehensive Manual for Hospitals. To learn more about the CHAC certification program, hospitals may contact certification@jointcommission.org.

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

About The Joint Commission

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 22,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at www.jointcommission.org.


Media Contacts:     

Karen Springs

Corporate Communications

American Heart Association



Katie Bronk

Corporate Communications

The Joint Commission