June 22, 2006 -- Nearly 30 health care organizations representing physicians, patients, researchers, and other health care interests have formed the Alliance for Cardiac Care Excellence.

Coalition members said Wednesday that they aim to help bridge the gap between clinical procedures and treatments proven to be the most effective for cardiac patients with the level of care that most adult cardiac patients receive.

"In the U.S., close to two million people annually receive treatment in the hospital for either heart attacks or heart failure, and we want to ensure that those patients receive the best care possible," Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Mark B. McClellan said in a news release. CMS is a member of the alliance.

Those quality measures include ensuring that all patients arriving at the hospital with symptoms of a heart attack receive aspirin, beta blockers, and other recommended treatments at the right time. Only about 85 percent of eligible adult cardiac patients treated in U.S. acute care hospitals receive such care, according to the alliance.

By Dec. 31, 2006, the alliance wants 95 percent of eligible adult patients hospitalized for heart attack and heart failure in acute care hospitals to receive care that meets all of the seven basic nationally accepted quality care standards. By Dec. 31, 2007, the alliance aims to have 95 percent of eligible adult patients hospitalized for heart attack and heart failure in acute care hospitals to receive the full 12 quality measures that apply to the patient.