November 21, 2008

Heart care ranked among nation’s best

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Heart care ranked among nation’s best

Vanderbilt Medical Center has been recognized for the first time among the top 100 U.S. hospitals that are setting the nation's benchmarks for cardiovascular care in a study by Thomson Healthcare.

The study — 2008 Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals: Cardiovascular Benchmarks for Success — appeared in the Nov. 17 issue of Modern Healthcare and examined the performance of 970 hospitals by analyzing clinical outcomes for patients diagnosed with heart failure and heart attacks and for those who received coronary bypass surgery and angioplasties.

“I would like to congratulate the Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute (VHVI) for our being named to this list for the first time. This is truly a remarkable and well-deserved achievement by all,” said Martin Sandler, M.D., associate vice chancellor for Health Affairs.

Vanderbilt was one of 30 winners among teaching hospitals with cardiovascular residency programs. Forty winners were named among teaching hospitals without cardiovascular residency programs and 30 were named among community hospitals.

“It's extremely rewarding to be recognized publicly for the work that we do,” said Larry Goldberg, CEO of Vanderbilt University Hospital. “The VHVI staff and faculty strive to be the best and they work very hard to be one of the elite cardiovascular programs in the nation. This award is a tribute to their efforts.”

The study, in its 10th year, found that the 100 Top Hospitals cardiovascular award winners, as a group, performed 63 percent more bypass surgeries and 42 percent more angioplasties than peer hospitals. This may suggest that performance of bypass surgery is increasingly performed in centers of excellence.

The mortality rate for bypass surgery was 26 percent lower in the 100 Top Hospitals cardiovascular winners. The award-winning hospitals demonstrated higher performance on the evidence-based core measures published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and cost $1,542 less per case, on average.

“The collaborative relationship between our cardiac surgeons and cardiologists has enabled us to provide the highest quality, cost effective care to our patients,” said John Byrne, M.D., chair of the Department of Cardiac Surgery.

“We've developed a paradigm where the combination is greater than the sum of the parts.”

The 100 Top Hospitals study scored hospitals in key performance areas: risk-adjusted medical mortality, risk-adjusted surgical mortality, risk-adjusted complications, core measures score, percentage of coronary bypass patients with internal mammary artery use, procedure volume, severity-adjusted average length of stay and wage- and severity-adjusted average cost.

“This recognition is a strong statement about the 'quality culture' of our institution that permeates every part of the team of people that make up this hospital,” said Doug Sawyer, M.D., Ph.D., interim director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine.

“The emphasis on the highest quality clinical care, working toward the best outcomes for our patients has earned us this recognition. We expect and intend to make the list every year.”