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August 16, 2022

ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton Earns Two Cardiac Reaccreditations

Comprehensive Reviews Demonstrate ThedaCare’s Commitment to Safe Cardiac Care

ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton recently earned reaccreditation for its expertise in treating patients with cardiovascular concerns. The hospital was reaccredited in June 2022 as a Chest Pain Center with Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) and Resuscitation from the American College of Cardiology (ACC). The Medical Center’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab also earned reaccreditation. 

These reaccreditations are based on rigorous onsite reviews of the hospital staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a cardiac event. ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton is one of only two hospitals in the State of Wisconsin to hold both accreditations from the ACC. 

“Both reaccreditations demonstrate ThedaCare’s commitment to providing safe, quality care for patients with cardiac events,” said Dr. Mark Cockley, Chief Clinical Officer and President of the ThedaCare Clinically Integrated Network. “By attaining these reaccreditations, we are proud to say that we are among the best in the country, as we are benchmarked against thousands of other hospitals.” 

“The reaccreditation process is a year-long event,” said Amanda Cottrell, BS, BSN, RN, Clinical Program Specialist and Chest Pain Center Coordinator. “Reviewers observe and evaluate our processes to ensure that we are meeting best practices. They encourage continuous process improvement, which drives our work.” 

According to the ACC, accredited hospitals show exceptional competency in treating patients with heart attack symptoms, have primary PCI, which includes coronary angioplasty, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the year and have standardized 

processes for patients undergoing cardiac catheterization to ensure quality and patient safety.  

“Our hospital is a very high-volume receiving hospital, which means many patients are brought to our regional medical center for care, especially patients presenting with ST segment myocardial infarctions,” said Samantha Kapphahn, DO, FACC, FSCAI, Medical Director of the Chest Pain Center. “That means we’re already getting the sickest of the sick in terms of cardiac care, and it’s not just the cardiology team that is earning our hospital this recognition. Our reaccreditation represents the significant partnerships, cooperation and communication we have with our EMS teams, the emergency departments at our critical access hospitals, our hospitalist teams, our cardiology and cath lab staffs, our labs and imaging departments and our cardiac rehab team. It’s the commitment of everyone along the spectrum of care that a cardiac patient receives that contributes to our success.”

Patient: “ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton is the Place to Go”

Bob Kuehnl, 64, of rural Black Creek, WI, recently experienced quality cardiac care at ThedaCare. Kuehnl had a massive heart attack at home on March 26, 2022, that left him breathless and pulseless for more than 10 minutes. His wife, Barb, a registered nurse, immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and called 911. A neighbor who is an emergency medical technician heard the call and rushed to Bob’s home to assist. Likewise, an Outagamie County sheriff’s deputy in the area responded and used his defibrillator to shock Bob twice before the ambulance arrived and transported him to the hospital. An emergent heart catheterization revealed Bob had multiple blocked arteries.  

On April 1, Kuehnl underwent quadruple bypass surgery. Five days later, he went home and after two months of rehab, was back to work as a general contractor.  

“I would not wish this experience on anyone,” he said. “But if you live in the Fox Valley area, ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton is the place to go. I’m a lucky man, and I feel better than I have in years. I feel my care was top notch.” 

Kapphahn and Cottrell noted that while ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton holds the accreditations, all ThedaCare clinics and hospitals contribute to Appleton’s ability to earn the recognition.  

“Educating team members and the community are integral requirements for reaccreditation,” said Cottrell. “We work closely with team members in our rural emergency departments, clinics and with our emergency medical service providers to help them recognize the symptoms of a heart attack and take proper actions, including transferring the patient when possible.” 

ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton initially earned accreditation as a Chest Pain Center in 2015 and as an accredited Cardiac Cath Lab in 2018.  

“During re-credentialing, we are not just evaluated against what we did last time, we continue to be evaluated against other hospitals and health systems throughout the country,” said Dr. Kapphahn. “Each review gets more comprehensive as the accreditation team pushes us to adapt to new findings and methods in improving heart health care. The benchmarks of what you have to do to be in the 90th percentile become more difficult each time, and we are rising to those challenges. Our patients and community members can feel reassured that ThedaCare continues to demonstrate safe, quality cardiac care.”

About ThedaCare 

For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health of the communities it serves in northeast and central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 18 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including eight hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their unique, best lives through easy access to individualized care, supporting each person’s own health and wellbeing. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand unique needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.