Catholic Health Heart Surgery Program at Mercy Hospital Rated Among Best in Nation

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June 15, 2009

The Heart Center at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, the surgical center of Catholic Health’s cardiovascular services, is pleased to announce that the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) has awarded its heart surgery program a “three-star” national quality rating – the highest category of quality achieved under the STS quality rating system. Approximately 15% of the 900 participating hospitals across the country received a “three-star” rating for the period covering January 2008 to December 2008.

“The STS rating is national validation that our heart surgery program ranks among the very best in the United States. This rating is another in a growing number of third party quality acknowledgments which demonstrates Catholic Health clinical programs are performing well on a national level,” said Joseph D. McDonald, president and CEO of Catholic Health. “We have a great team, and they have been working hard to ensure that patients can access the best in cardiovascular services across our system.”

STS recently developed a comprehensive system that allows for comparisons regarding the quality of cardiac surgery among hospitals nationwide. “We joined the STS voluntary rating system in 2008 as a way to further demonstrate our commitment to deliver the highest quality cardiac surgery services,” said Julie LaManna, Catholic Health Senior Director of Cardiac Services. “STS currently operates the most in-depth rating system using the largest single-specialty database in the country with over 900 hospital participants consisting of over 3.5 million patient records.

The STS composite quality rating is based on a combination of 11 National Quality Forum (NQF) endorsed Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) processes and outcomes measures. These measures rate the performance of heart surgery programs in four areas: Avoidance of Operative Mortality; Avoidance of Major Morbidity; High Quality Intra-Operative Care; and Appropriate Perioperative Medication Usage.

“It is important to share quality data to tell the public how we are doing and to compare ourselves to other similar heart surgery programs on a national scale,” said Dr. John Bell-Thomson, Chair of Mercy’s Cardiothoracic Surgery Department. “Our three-star rating tells us that our heart surgery program is one of the best quality programs in the country.”

C.J. Urlaub, President and CEO of Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, credits the entire staff for this achievement. “We are very proud of our team of surgeons, nurses and other health care professionals whose hard work and dedication to excellence in patient care have allowed us to earn this prestigious quality rating,” he said. “This national rating is also good news for our Western New York community. Having one of the most highly-rated heart surgery programs in the United States at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo gives Western New York patients peace of mind that the care they receive at Catholic Health is among the best available anywhere.”