Bothwell meets standards to provide timely heart attack care

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), Time Critical Diagnosis Unit has designated Bothwell Regional Health Center as a Level III Missouri ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) Center.

STEMI is a serious type of heart attack where one or more of the heart’s major arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart is completely blocked.

As a Level III STEMI Center, Bothwell meets multiple standards to provide definitive and timely treatment for patients suffering a STEMI attack. The standards ensure patients are diagnosed and treated quickly at Bothwell and transferred to a higher level center with a Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory (Cath Lab) to reopen the blocked artery.

Michele Laas, RN, BSN, MSN, Bothwell’s Chief Nursing Officer, said the health center has a partnership with Boone Health in Columbia that ensures a smooth transition of care from Bothwell to their Cath Lab.

“We have ongoing open lines of communication with Boone Health where most of our STEMI patients are transferred,” Laas said. “In addition, our relationship with Dr. Marquez with Missouri Heart Center’s Sedalia office and our own outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation program allows patients to return home for follow-up care.”

Since Bothwell was first designated a Level III STEMI Center in March 2021, the Emergency Department team has treated 68 patients for STEMI attacks.

Laas said achieving the designation a second time is an indication of the health center’s commitment to caring for its community.

“In heart attacks, minutes count,” Laas said. “The state requires stringent standards of timely care, and our entire team has practiced and worked hard to cover all our bases. This designation ensures that when someone is having a STEMI attack and they arrive at our door, we are providing them the highest level of emergency care.”

According to the Missouri DHSS, there are four levels of hospital designations in the state’s Time Critical Diagnosis System. Currently, there are 25 Level III STEMI Centers that play an important role in providing access into the system and essential patient care in non-metropolitan areas.

“Bothwell is a rural hospital serving a rural community,” Laas said. “Our role as a STEMI center is critical to improving heart attack care and saving lives. I’m extremely proud of our team for working together to achieve this designation.”

In the event of someone showing signs of a heart attack, 911 should be contacted immediately. These signs can include pain or discomfort in the chest, arm or shoulder, shortness of breath, feeling lightheaded, nausea or vomiting, or jaw, neck or back pain.