Mount St. Mary’s and Catholic Health Announce Plans for Cardiac Catheterization Lab in Niagara County

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August 20, 2010

In a major move to address a growing heart disease problem in Niagara County, Mount St. Mary’s Hospital and Health Center will collaborate with Catholic Health’s Heart Center at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo to invest $7.9 million and construct a cardiac catheterization laboratory on the campus of the Lewiston hospital. This will be the only such facility in Niagara County to provide cardiac catheterization and coronary angioplasty procedures.

The two organizations announced today that two integrated Certificate of Need (CON) applications have been filed with the New York State Department of Health. Construction would begin immediately after they have both been approved.

James Conley, M.D., cardiologist at Mount St. Mary’s, will be the Medical Director of the new lab. He said having a cardiac catheterization lab fulfills a great unmet need. “Niagara County has one of the highest incidences of heart disease in the state and clearly there is an urgent need to improve access to cardiac services,” Dr. Conley said. “We have the opportunity to provide comprehensive cardiac care and intervention for the members of our community at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital. I look forward to leading the development of this new service.”

Brian D’Arcy, M.D., senior vice president of medical affairs at Catholic Health and a cardiologist, said the health system is excited about the opportunity to work with Mount St. Mary’s cardiologists. “This is great news for patients in Niagara County,” Dr. D’Arcy said. “Mercy Hospital has one of the top heart programs in the nation and we are eager to work with the cardiology team at Mount St. Mary’s to bring an advanced level of care to the community.”

According to the Department of Health, in 2007, Niagara County residents experienced death rates 39% above the state average (355 per 100,000 persons) from diseases of the heart, compared to a New York State average of 255 per 100,000. It is a problem that is getting worse. In 2003, Niagara County was 28% higher than the state average. “Clearly we need to improve access to cardiac catheterization in the Niagara region,” Dr. Conley said. “We have an obligation to the community.”

Judith A. Maness, FACHE, president and CEO of Mount St. Mary’s, said the hospital and Catholic Health have a common mission. “Over the last few years we have been looking for opportunities to work more closely with Catholic Health in areas where collaboration makes sense for our patients,” Ms. Maness said. “Certainly this partnership will bring a higher level of advanced cardiac service directly into Niagara County and will provide true access to a much broader array of critical services for patients who are least likely to have that access currently. Patients and their family members will no longer have to travel outside of the County for this critically important care. It is our promise and our commitment to provide access that leaves no one behind. We believe this project, when complete, will be another important step to fulfilling our promise.”

Ms. Maness added that the support for the project by Dr. Conley is also important. “Dr. Conley has long served this community with a loyalty and dedication that is unsurpassed. He has earned the confidence of his patients and the community and we are grateful that he is a big part of bringing this service to Niagara. In addition, the quality work displayed by the staff and nursing at Mount St. Mary’s will also play an important role in the success of this initiative,” Ms. Maness said.

Mount St. Mary’s Chief of Cardiology Dr. Zina Hajduczok said the new cath lab services add another level of cardiac care to hospital services. “Our team of all Board-certified cardiologists already provide our patients with high quality diagnostics and treatment. Teaming with Mercy Hospital and having a cath lab on site is a major advance.”

C. J. Urlaub, president and CEO of Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, said the opportunity to collaborate with Mount St. Mary’s will complement care at both facilities. “Certainly, our two teams will bring synergy to cardiac care in the region. This is a wonderful opportunity to leverage the high quality care at both Mercy Hospital and Mount St. Mary’s Hospital and Health Center,” Urlaub said. “We can’t get started soon enough on a project so important to pushing back against heart disease.”

Mercy Hospital will provide the capital to build the 9,000 square foot addition to Mount St. Mary’s Hospital to house the cardiac catheterization lab and provide the clinical staff, support staff and on-call services for the lab. It will be constructed adjacent to the north side of the hospital near the current outpatient entrance.

The Heart Center at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo provides a full range of cardiac services, including minimally invasive robotic surgery in its open-heart program, cardiac catheterization labs and electrophysiology services. The Heart Center’s open-heart program has received a three-star national quality rating by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, placing it among the top 12% of heart programs nationwide.

Mercy Hospital has been recognized by the New York State Department of Health as having the best clinical outcomes in the region for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). The Heart Center also has access via a helipad, part of Mercy’s new $32 million Emergency Center.