Office of Cardiac Care

Cardiovascular disease is responsible for over 800,000 deaths each year in the U.S., or about one in three deaths, according to the American Heart Association. Each day, 2,300 Americans die from cardiovascular disease. To improve these outcomes and reduce the death burden from cardiovascular disease and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in Georgia, legislation was signed into law in 2017 establishing of the Office of Cardiac Care within the Georgia Department of Public Health.   

The mission of the Office of Cardiac Care is to improve survival rates in Georgia from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and heart attacks through quality improvement, benchmarking and evidence-based guidelines supported by standardized data collection and reporting. They will accomplish this by:

  • Assigning designated levels to Emergency Cardiac Care Centers (Level I, II, III) for hospitals complying with Emergency Cardiac Care Center criteria for awareness among the public and EMS.
  • Establishing protocols for EMS to diagnose, triage and transport cardiac patients to an appropriate cardiac resource hospital. 
  • Requiring all cardiac-designated hospitals at each level to submit heart attack and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest data to the Georgia Cardiac Registry (GCaR) data reporting system.
  • Providing data to help measure performance and improve outcomes. 

Benefits of the Emergency Cardiac Care Center designation

EMS will know what cardiac resources hospitals have, and they will be able to get patients to the right treatment in time. 

Hospitals will:

  • Strengthen Georgia’s Emergency Medical Services system.
  • Ensure cardiac patients get the proper treatment that they need.
  • Save lives, reduce disability and improve quality of life.

The community will:

  • Have a designated Emergency Cardiac Care Center nearby. 
  • Have peace of mind knowing that if they go to the hospital, they’ll receive the correct treatment. In some cases, that will involve transferring patients to higher level care. In other cases, EMS will take patients directly to another hospital.

Emergency Cardiac Care System outcome measures

The 2017 legislation, codified in O.C.G.A. § 31-11-134, requires for the Office of Cardiac Care to establish a data reporting system for the collection of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and heart attack data. The law requires that each Emergency Cardiac Care Center submit data to the Department of Public Health for both types of patients, and it requires that the Department analyze that data with the goal of improving survival rates over the initial three years of the program.  

Analysis of the submitted data will be conducted by the Office of Cardiac Care. Once the office has the data, they will manage the system with local, regional and statewide quality improvement initiatives to improve survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and heart attacks.


Michael Johnson is the Director of the Office of Cardiac Care. Michael earned both his MS and BS degrees in Emergency Management from Jacksonville State University and his AAS degree in EMS from Wallace State College in Alabama. Before joining the Department of Public Health, Michael was EMS Program Director at colleges in Alabama and Georgia and taught Emergency Management at Jacksonville State University. Michael has also served as a Subject Matter Expert for hospital and first responder WMD training for FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness. Originally from Cullman, Alabama, Michael enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, baseball and other outdoor activities. He can be reached at

Maureen Frazier is the Cardiac Registrar for the Office of Cardiac Care. Maureen holds a Master of Public Health and a Bachelor’s in Healthcare Management from South University in Savannah, Georgia. Prior to working at the Department of Public Health, Maureen was a Cancer Registrar at the Anderson Cancer Center and a volunteer with the Chatham County Department of Health in the HIV/AIDS/STD division. Maureen is originally from Savannah, Georgia and enjoys good food, reading and spending time with family and friends. She can be reached at

Juana Smith is the Business Support Administrator for the Office of Cardiac Care. Prior to joining the Department of Public Health, Juana worked for a diverse range of organizations, including other government agencies and the private sector. Juana holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. In this role, Juana will serve as the “gatekeeper” of documents related to site visits, designations, and other administrative functions. In her free time, Juana enjoys quality time with her family, the beach and traveling. She can be reached at

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Page last updated 2/19/2019