The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) recently accredited the University of Rochester (UR) Medical Center as a Comprehensive Care Center, recognizing its excellence in research, diagnosis, and clinical care for patients with pulmonary hypertension (PH). The group’s PH Care Centers (PHCC) initiative provides accreditation to centers with expertise in PH, particularly pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), to raise the overall quality of care and outcomes in patients with this life-threatening disease.
UR Medicine is one of three programs in the State of New York, and the only program outside New York City, to receive the PHA designation. The PH team, headed by R. James White, MD, PhD, was subject to a thorough evaluation of its joint clinical programs, including pulmonary, rheumatology and cardiology, and showed excellence in pharmacy and nursing.
“This is very important for our patients, their families and our community, which can be reassured that they are receiving the best, cutting-edge care,” said Patricia Sime, MD, chief of the Division of Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care, and the C. Jane Davis & C. Robert Davis Distinguished Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, in a news release.
PAH is a rare, progressive disorder characterized by high blood pressure (hypertension) in the arteries of the lungs (pulmonary arteries) for no apparent reason. Symptoms include shortness of breath (dyspnea) especially during exercise, chest pain, and fainting episodes. The exact cause of PAH is unknown and although treatable, there is no known cure for the disease.
“There is an urgent need for physicians and centers to accurately diagnose, treat and support people with pulmonary hypertension,” said Dr. White. “We expect that the PHA accreditation and recognition will improve our connections with healthcare professionals throughout Upstate New York to ensure that more people living with pulmonary hypertension receive the right diagnosis early and accurately and that they get the very best care available.”
Dr. White led and designed large clinical trials that have improved care for people with PAH. He recently co-authored an article that revealed that combining two long-used treatments, instead of using either alone, reduced PAH patients’ hospitalizations and improved clinical outcomes.
“URMC has built a strong reputation for innovation and research to find new medications for treating pulmonary hypertension, make smarter use of the drugs we currently have and extend survival,” he said. “This accreditation affirms our efforts over the last decade and reassures our patients that they are getting nationally recognized care here in Rochester.”
As a PHA accredited care center, UR Medical Center will enroll its patients in the Pulmonary Hypertension Association Registry (PHAR), an organized patient registry collecting data to evaluate specific outcomes in patient treatment and serving a useful research tool.