Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common birth defect in the United States, diagnosed in one in 100 births; and because of improved disease diagnosis and treatment, individuals with CHD are living longer. There are now an estimated 1.4 million adults living with CHD in the United States – more than the number of children with the disease. While individuals with CHD can certainly live active, productive lives, it is important to remember they require specialized heart care.
The Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) is the only organization in the country that focuses exclusively on adults with CHD. It is the primary source of education for adults with CHD and provides a network of experts with an understanding and knowledge base about the disease. To better serve this population, we are pleased to announce the ACHA Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) Accreditation Program, which will standardize and enhance the quality of care for adult CHD patients throughout the country.
Over several years, ACHA worked with doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, and ACHD patients to define and vet the criteria for accreditation, which includes medical services and personnel requirements, and create a rigorous accreditation process.
Why is accreditation important? Accreditation will increase public awareness of the disease and raise the standard of care. The field of CHD treatment is relatively new and because patients are living longer, there is a need to understand how to treat individuals with typical ailments associated with aging, along with CHD. Because there are many different types of congenital heart defects that range from simple to moderate to complex, most general healthcare providers and even cardiologists don’t know or understand all of them; and treatment options are changing constantly.
Ultimately, accreditation will result in the highest quality of care and ensure patients enjoy the best quality of life. If you, or a loved one, are impacted by CHD, you can learn more about accreditation at achaheart.org.
Mark Roeder, President and CEO, Adult Congenital Heart Association
This article was featured in the September 2018 edition of our e-newsletter, Philadelphia Medicine. To subscribe to our newsletter, fill out the form available on our home page.