When you or someone you know has a heart attack in Georgia, treatment will soon be more efficient thanks to new legislation. Gov. Nathan Deal, joined by members of the Georgia General Assembly, signed Senate Bill 102 at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Tuesday afternoon. The new law provides for the establishment of emergency cardiac care centers in Georgia and a three-level designation system for those centers – making Georgia one of only a few states in the nation to have these types of coordinated systems in place.
“Northeast Georgia Medical Center is recognized as a leader in heart care for our state, so it only makes sense that NGMC has been a driving force in establishing designations for emergency cardiac care centers,” said Gov. Deal.
The emergency cardiac care centers and levels of designation will coordinate treatment among first responders, hospital emergency departments, cardiologists, heart surgeons and other care teams to help ensure patients are stabilized and transported to a hospital that can provide the level of care they need.
“This is all about making sure patients receive the care, at the right place, at the right time,” says Jeffrey Marshall, MD, medical director of Cardiac Catheterization Labs at NGMC. “We have helped coordinate a similar streamlined approach to rapid heart attack treatment in our region for a decade, which has received national awards for excellent outcomes, so we know applying this type of response to emergency cardiac cases across the state will save countless lives.”
The law provides for three levels of designations for cardiac care centers, with high-level criteria that will be further defined by the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH):
- Level 1 hospitals perform open heart surgery and interventional cardiac catheterizations.
- Level 2 hospitals perform interventional cardiac catheterizations.
- Level 3 hospitals stabilize patients until they are transported to a Level 1 or Level 2 center.
The law also creates a new Office of Cardiac Care within the DPH which will develop specific guidelines for oversight, implementation and operations for the designation system.
Senate Bill 102 was researched, introduced and carried through the Georgia General Assembly by Sen. Butch Miller, Sen. Renee Unterman and Rep. Lee Hawkins. Deborah Bailey, executive director of Governmental Affairs for Northeast Georgia Health System, was also recognized for her work championing the bill.
PHOTO: Gov. Deal (center), joined by Northeast Georgia Health System leadership and other local legislators, signs Senate Bill 102.
ABOUT NORTHEAST GEORGIA HEALTH SYSTEM
Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) is a non-profit on a mission of improving the health of our community in all we do. Our team cares for more than 800,000 people across the region through three hospitals and a variety of outpatient locations. Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) has three hospital campuses – NGMC Gainesville, NGMC Braselton and NGMC Barrow – with a total of 713 beds and medical staff members representing more than 50 specialties.