The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) recently announced the accreditation of nine new institutions as established Pulmonary Hypertension Care Centers (PHCC). The granting of this status recognizes excellency and specialization in the treatment of patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH), and the addition of nine more PHCC expands the list to a total of 26 centers nationwide.
The association established the PHCC accreditation in order to improve healthcare service offerings to patients with PH, a rare and debilitating lung condition that causes high blood pressure in the lungs and malfunctioning of the heart, leading to right heart failure. In particular, the PHA grants PHCC accreditation to programs that have demonstrated dedication to improving diagnosis of the disease — an area with a serious unmet medical need, since it still takes more than a year on average between the onset of symptoms and a PH diagnosis.
In addition, the association also evaluates a program’s ability to properly and comprehensively manage the disease, according to a series of criteria laid out by the PHA’s Scientific Leadership Council and the PHCC Oversight Committee, which includes global leaders in the field of PH treatment and research. Following an evaluation that takes into account the opinions of physicians, allied healthcare professionals, patients and PHA leaders, the centers that receive accreditation are qualified either as Centers of Comprehensive Care (CCC) or Regional Clinical Programs (RCP).
The newly accredited centers include:
- Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin Pulmonary Hypertension Service at Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, Wis.
- Johns Hopkins Pulmonary Hypertension Program at Johns Hopkins University – Baltimore, Md.
- University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Pulmonary Hypertension Program at the University of California, at San Francisco Medical Center—San Francisco, Calif.
- UCSF Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension Program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital at UCSF Medical Center – San Francisco, Calif.
- Pulmonary Hypertension Clinical Program at Mayo Clinic Florida, Jacksonville, Fla.
- Pulmonary Hypertension Program at the University of Iowa, Heart and Vascular Center – Iowa City, Iowa
- The University of Kansas Pulmonary Hypertension Program at The University of Kansas Hospital – Kansas City, Kan.
- University of North Carolina Pulmonary Hypertension Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill/UNC Hospitals – Chapel Hill, N.C.
- Pulmonary Vascular Disease Program, Center for Pulmonary Heart Disease, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School – Boston, Mass.
In addition to awarding centers with the accreditation, the program is also supporting the development of a new PH patient registry by tracking diagnostic and treatment patterns nationally. The first six centers to receive accreditation were announced in October 2014, as the association believes that connecting PHCCs throughout the country can increase collaboration among the PH community regarding both clinical care and research.
Maryland-based PHA is a leading US organization focused on prevention, research, education and advocacy for PH, and its work for the past 25 years has resulted in numerous advancements in PH care, such as approval of 12 treatments by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the association believes there is still much more work to be done, since patients often need to visit several different physicians before being properly diagnosed, and the average survival rate is less than three years without treatment. Through the implementation of the PHCC accreditation program, the PHA believes that improvements in these areas is possible.