WVU Heart and Vascular Institute program to receive Joint Commission certification after survey

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) Program, a component of the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute (HVI), will receive certification from the Joint Commission after a survey July 23-24. The certification is good for two years.

Although the service is less than a year old and sought its initial certification, the Joint Commission issued only two Requirements for Improvement (RFI). Both were considered “low risk and limited occurrence,” according to WVU Heart and Vascular Institute officials.

“The surveyor commented that she has never seen a new program receive fewer than five RFI,” Vinay Badhwar, MD, executive chair of the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute and chair of the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, said. “She suggested the average RFI for established programs was four." 

According to George Sokos, DO, medical director of advanced heart failure and pulmonary hypertension, “the surveyor repeatedly stated how impressed she was with the program and the true interdisciplinary commitment displayed. It was truly a team effort, and I would personally like to thank the entire team for helping to establish clinical excellence in such a short period of time.”

The surveyor was on-site for a day-and-a-half, observing protocols and practices and asking questions of the providers.

According to Muhammad Salman, MD, surgical director of the LVAD (left ventricular assist device) program, “an LVAD is necessary for some patients when the heart becomes too weak to pump blood throughout the body, and other methods to treat heart failure would not be effective." The device is surgically implanted and attached to the heart to help it to function. The patient wears a power pack connected to the pump, but outside the body. The device allows the patient to move about freely and enhances their quality of life.

The multidisciplinary VAD team has completed five successful LVAD cases since December 2017, and more than 350 nursing and ancillary staff have been trained on the new device.

A WVU Medicine webpage further describes the procedure.