Billings Clinic


Billings Clinic Cardiology recognized as a National Center of Excellence with ACC Heartcare Center designation

Billings Clinic Cardiology recognized as a National Center of Excellence with ACC Heartcare Center designation
Posted at 3:17 PM, Sep 13, 2023

Billings Clinic Cardiology recognized as a National Center of Excellence with ACC Heartcare Center designation

When it comes to medical care for your heart, the most important details are having a good outcome and getting the most out of life.

It’s because of this attention to detail that the American College of Cardiology (ACC) has awarded Billings Clinic with the HeartCARE Center National Distinction of Excellence, making it the only cardiovascular program in a more than 500-mile radius to earn the designation.

“For every single patient that comes in, they want to make sure they get the best care and have the best possible outcome,” said Colin Fischer, MD, cardiologist and medical director of the chest pain center at Billings Clinic. “We strive to achieve that end goal by making sure that all of the details are taken care of in order to get that big benchmark of survival, of going home at the end of the day.”

The American College of Cardiology recognized Billings Clinic with the HeartCARE Center distinction for its demonstrated commitment to comprehensive, high-quality culture and cardiovascular care, based on meeting specific and rigorous accreditation criteria, and through ongoing performance registry reporting.

It means that Billings Clinic had to show the experts at the ACC that it consistently provides some of the best and most comprehensive heart care available, and that it did so by meeting a large number of strict standards and benchmarks while meticulously tracking all of the relevant information and data.

“It’s not just about doing one thing well or a training program someone’s gone through,” Fischer said. “It’s about taking everything and working together to do it well over and over and over again – all of those pieces that go into high-quality care.”

Hospitals and health systems like Billings Clinic that have earned an ACC HeartCARE Center designation have met a set of measures that are designed to help close gaps in guideline-based care. This includes but isn’t limited to proving their commitment to consistent, high-quality cardiovascular care through comprehensive process improvement, disease and procedure-specific accreditation, professional excellence, and community engagement.

“Billings Clinic has demonstrated its commitment to providing Montana and Wyoming with excellent heart care,” said Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH, FACC, chair of the ACC Accreditation Management Board. “ACC Accreditation Services is proud to award Billings Clinic with the HeartCARE Center designation.”

It places Billings Clinic among elite hospitals for cardiovascular care, with fewer than 100 hospitals or health systems earning the HeartCARE Center designation. No other hospitals in a large multi-state region that includes Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Washington or Oregon have been awarded the distinction.

Fischer noted that a hospital can have all of the systems and programs in place, but that without the right people it’s not nearly as effective.

“It takes a whole team of people to make this happen,” he said. “It’s a coordinated effort with a lot of people in a lot of areas. It’s not just about doctors, it’s the entire team here who are trained and held to extremely high standards. We strive to go above and beyond to meet those standards.

If you look at all the programs that have done this, we’re the only one in this part of the country that’s earned this from the American College of Cardiology. That’s because our program strives really hard as a coordinated team to make sure that people are getting the same high-quality care every time they come in to us.”

The robust heart care program at Billings Clinic includes an experienced team of cardiologists, surgeons, technologists, nurses and more; cutting-edge technology and procedures available nowhere else in a multistate area; and other resources to provide comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation to patients and their heart health.

Billings Clinic is the highest volume heart center in the state. The expert team at Billings Clinic’s John R. Burg MD Cardiac Center is dedicated to helping raise awareness and providing a year-round complete heart care program for thousands of patients across Montana, Wyoming and the western Dakotas. Billings Clinic has a long history of heart care innovation in the region, from performing Montana’s first open heart surgery in 1972 to recently celebrating 14,000 open heart surgeries. Billings Clinic also has the region’s busiest transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program giving patients the chance to have aortic valve replacement without surgery.. The full structural heart team also does mitral valve clips – repairing the mitral valve without requiring an open surgery- and other advanced procedures such the WATCHMAN left atrial appendage occluder device for patients with atrial fibrillation. This procedure allows patients with atrial fibrillation to stop their blood thinner.

“It’s important that this isn’t just us saying this. This acknowledgement does not just come from a magazine or newsletter. It comes from the most respected national professional organization and confirms that we are succeeding in providing top-notch, comprehensive, guideline-based medical care,” Fischer said. “And that’s all being done so that someone who comes to us knows they’re getting the best care, based on evidence. We’re doing everything we can for them because of the whole heart care team.”

For more information on heart care at Billings Clinic, visit or call (406) 435-1445.