Post-Acute Care Heart Failure Center Certification

Heart Attack Center Certification

The American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives, and The Joint Commission, the nation’s largest independent healthcare evaluation organization, have developed the new certifications to establish comprehensive standards and evaluation methods for cardiac and stroke hospital programs based on evidence-based guidelines and best practices that support consistent and high-quality patient care.

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading global cause of death with more than 17.9 million deaths each year. While nearly 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented, cardiovascular diseases continue to be a woman’s greatest health threat, claiming the lives of one in three women.

The Primary Heart Attack Center (PHAC) and the Acute Heart Attack Ready (AHAR) certifications are available to all hospitals, including freestanding emergency departments operated under a hospital. These certifications add to a growing portfolio of performance improvement programs offered by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association for hospitals committed to consistent, high quality care for stroke and cardiac patients.

How Certification Supports Quality Improvement

The American Heart Association and The Joint Commission combine expertise in formalizing systems of hospital and pre-hospital care and implementing structure to promote patients receiving the right care from the right facility at the right time. Translating the latest evidence-based science to the bedside quickly and efficiently helps save more lives and improve patients' quality of life, through standardized, objective, unbiased assessments, while promoting excellence in healthcare globally.

“Research shows that patient outcomes improve when medical professionals implement the most up-to-date, evidence-based treatment guidelines,” says Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association.  “The Association is committed to operationalize guidelines more rapidly with every healthcare stakeholder along the healthcare continuum and our work with The Joint Commission is designed to benefit patients sooner to positively impact the cardiovascular health of the populations that hospitals serve.”

How Certification Raises Facility Profiles

Benefits of certification to skilled nursing facilities and hospitals may include cost savings, reduction in readmission back to hospital, increased patient volume to certified centers, and improved transitions of care between the hospital and skilled nursing facilities.

The AHA/ASA helps spread the word through:

  • Display of the iconic Heart-Check mark, a symbol patients know and trust
  • National recognition on the AHA/ASA online quality map

How We Support The Certification Process

We're with you every step of the way, providing:

  • Tools and resources
  • Educational opportunities
  • Individualized assistance from program representatives

Eligibility Requirements

  • The skilled nursing facility is in the United States or operated by the US government, or operated under a charter of the US Congress.
  • The skilled nursing facility heart failure program uses a standardized method of delivering clinical care based on current evidence-based guidelines.
  • The program uses heart failure performance measurement to improve its performance over time.

Answering Your Questions

For more information regarding Post-Acute Heart Failure Certification, please contact us at

Download the Eligibility Guide (PDF), and our Program Overview (PDF) to learn more.