Joint Commission renews Gold Seal for UC Irvine Health heart failure program

October 14, 2015

The UC Irvine Health Heart Failure Program has again earned the Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission, healthcare’s predominant standards-setting and accrediting body. This certification recognizes an organization’s diligence in meeting rigorous performance standards accepted nationwide as benchmarks of superior patient care.

Directed by Dr. Dawn Lombardo and managed by Nathalie De Michelis, RN, the UC Irvine Health Heart Failure Program provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care – utilizing the most current medicines, devices, surgical therapies and technology – and fosters new approaches to heart failure through a large, active research effort. For more information, visit the heart failure program.

“Our dedicated heart failure team draws on a wide-range of research and clinical expertise to provide the Orange County community with the best treatments available,” Lombardo said. “The Joint Commission’s renewal reflects our daily commitment to patient-centered care.”

Established in 2002 and awarded for a two-year period, The Joint Commission’s Disease-Specific Care Certification evaluates clinical programs across the continuum of care and addresses three core areas:

  • Compliance with consensus-based national standards;
  • Effective use of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines to manage and optimize care; and
  • An organized approach to performance measurement and improvement activities.

"UC Irvine Health has thoroughly demonstrated a high level of care for patients with heart failure,” said Wendi J. Roberts, RN, executive director, Certification Programs, The Joint Commission. “We commend UC Irvine for becoming a leader, potentially providing a higher standard of service for heart failure patients in its community.”

In October, Joint Commission staff reviewed the program and interviewed personnel to gauge their adherence to the best clinical practices, quantify their use of data to improve performance and learn how they maintain a consistently high level of care.

The UC Irvine Health Heart Failure Program’s certification for disease-specific care in 2008 was the first awarded by The Joint Commission to a hospital in Orange County.

UC Irvine Health has long been dedicated to offering the highest quality of care for patients experiencing heart failure, a condition that refers to the progressive weakening of the heart muscle until it no longer pumps enough blood to meet the body's needs.

Recent achievements include:

  • September 2015 – The program received the American Heart Association’s Heart Failure Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for the fifth consecutive year. The award certifies that UC Irvine Health has achieved the goal of treating heart failure patients according to the secondary prevention guidelines recommended by the AHA and the American College of Cardiology.
  • May 2015 – UC Irvine Health Heart Failure Program was recognized as "High Performing" by U.S. News & World Report as part of its new Best Hospitals for Common Care ratings system. U.S. News developed the new ratings to help patients easily identify hospitals in their communities that excel in treating common conditions, such as heart failure. Hospital were rated as “High Performing,” “Average” or “Below Average” and approximately 11 percent of hospitals rated in this condition received the highest rating.
  • February 2015 – UC Irvine Health became Orange County's first medical center to offer heart failure patients remote monitoring of their pulmonary artery pressure and heart rate measurements. Real-time access to this data enables doctors to proactively manage a patient’s condition, helping to reduce the rate of hospital readmission related to heart failure, the leading cause of hospitalization among adults 65 and older in the U.S.

UC Irvine Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UC Irvine Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 411-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among America’s Best Hospitals for 15 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and is the primary teaching hospital for UC Irvine School of Medicine. UC Irvine Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the University of California, Irvine: Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit

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