Cardiovascular diseases are the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. On average, one American dies every 39 seconds of cardiovascular disease – disorders of the heart and blood vessels. Stroke, a disorder of the blood supply to the brain, is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of disability in the country, with nearly 800,000 new strokes occurring annually.
According to the American Heart Association, the total direct and indirect cost of cardiovascular disease and stroke in the U.S. for 2010 was an estimated $503.2 billion.
Early detection of life threatening heart disorders, stroke and other diseases is possible through the use of vascular testing procedures performed within hospitals, outpatient centers and physicians’ offices. While these tests are helpful, there are many facets that contribute to an accurate diagnosis based on vascular testing. The skill of the technologist performing the examination, the type of equipment used, the background and knowledge of the interpreting physician and quality assurance measures are each critical to quality patient testing.
Atlantic General Hospital’s Vascular Laboratory located in Berlin, Md., has been granted a three-year term of accreditation in vascular testing in the areas of extracranial cerebrovascular testing, peripheral arterial testing, and peripheral venous testing by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC).
Accreditation by the IAC means that Atlantic General Hospital’s Vascular Laboratory has undergone a thorough review of its operational and technical components by a panel of experts. The IAC grants accreditation only to those facilities that are found to be providing quality patient care, in compliance with national standards through a comprehensive application process including detailed case study review.
IAC accreditation is a “seal of approval” that patients can rely on as an indication that the facility has been carefully critiqued on all aspects of its operations considered relevant by medical experts in the field of vascular testing. When scheduled for a vascular testing procedure, patients are encouraged to inquire as to the accreditation status of the facility where their examination will be performed and can learn more by visiting www.intersocietal.org/vascular/main/patients.htm.
IAC accreditation is widely respected within the medical community, as illustrated by the support of the national medical societies related to vascular testing, which include physicians, technologists and sonographers. Vascular testing accreditation is required in some states and regions by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and by some private insurers.
However, patients should remain vigilant in making sure that their vascular testing procedures are performed within accredited facilities, because for many facilities it remains a voluntary process.
About Atlantic General Hospital
Atlantic General Hospital has been providing quality health care to the residents of Worcester, Wicomico, Somerset (Md.) and Sussex (Del.) Counties since May 1993. Built by the commitment and generosity of a dedicated community, the hospital’s state-of-the-art facility in Berlin, Md. combines old-fashioned personal attention with the latest in technology and services. Atlantic General Health System, its network of more than 25 primary care provider and specialist offices, care for residents and visitors throughout the region. For more information about Atlantic General Hospital, visit www.atlanticgeneral.org.
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