The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) has just announced a fresh set of accredited Pulmonary Hypertension Care Centers (PHCC) as part of a program aimed towards enhancing the nation’s overall quality of healthcare and pulmonary hypertension patient outcomes. These eleven newly-accredited PHCCs have brought the total number of PHA-accredited centers across the country to seventeen. Of particular focus is pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), which currently has a median life expectancy of 2.8 years post-diagnosis.
“We continue to be impressed by the programs applying for accreditation,” said Dr. Murali Chakinala, from the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine and member of the PHCC Oversight Committee. “Patients entering these centers can feel confident that the PHCCs have been vetted by a rigorous process that includes a detailed application and a comprehensive site visit with ultimate adjudication by a Committee of more than 20 health professionals with vast experience in caring for PH patients.”
Despite the many advances made in the field of PH, the average time between the first signs of PAH and its accurate diagnosis remains at 1.1 years, during which patients will end up consulting with several physicians. The PHA notes that it is not enough for drug developers to be producing newer and better treatment options, when the patients who need treatment are not correctly diagnosed and immediately started on appropriate treatment. This delay contributes to the development of complications, and incurs otherwise avoidable health costs.
The Association’s Scientific Leadership Council and the PHCC Oversight Committee took it upon themselves to set very stringent criteria for centers to achieve PHCC accreditation, which ultimately signifies the center’s commitment and capability to make proper diagnoses, and administer comprehensive PH care. The two types of prestigious PHA accreditations are: Centers of Comprehensive Care (CCC) and Regional Clinical Programs (RCP). Interested centers can apply online through the PH Care Centers Site Application Portal.
The eleven newly accredited PHCCs are:
- Arizona Pulmonary Specialists, LTD – St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, Ariz.
- Adult Pulmonary Hypertension Comprehensive Care Center at Columbia University Medical Center – New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, N.Y.
- Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Comprehensive Care Center at Columbia University Medical Center – New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, N.Y.
- Mayo Clinic Pulmonary Hypertension Program, Rochester, Minn.
- Rhode Island Hospital Pulmonary Hypertension Center, Rhode Island Hospital, Brown University School of Medicine, Providence, R.I.
- Pulmonary Hypertension Program – University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus School of Medicine and University of Colorado Hospital, Denver, Colo.
- University of Michigan Pulmonary Hypertension Program, Ann Arbor, Mich.
- University of Texas Southwestern Pulmonary Hypertension Program, Dallas, Texas
- Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, Richmond, Va.
- Washington University & Barnes-Jewish Hospital Pulmonary Hypertension Program, St. Louis, Mo.
- Weill Cornell Medical Center – New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, N.Y.
At present, the PHA is developing a centralized PH patient registry, accessible to all PHCCs. “The PH patient registry will provide important data on the care and outcomes of patients with pulmonary hypertension across the country,” said Dr. Steven Kawut of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “We can then begin to understand best practices in the treatment of PH and continue to improve the quality of life and survival of individuals with this disease.” Hopefully, through a cloud-based PHCC database, PHCCs and other health institutions will experience increased collaborative efforts, for the benefit of thousands of PH patients.