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

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August 19, 2011

The Heart Center at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, the surgical center of Catholic Health’s Cardiovascular Services program, has been awarded a three-star national quality rating by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) for the period covering January 2010 to December 2010.

Approximately 13.5% of the 900 participating hospitals across the country received a “three-star” rating – the highest award under the STS quality rating system – for heart bypass surgery, also called coronary artery bypass graft surgery or CABG.

“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 reflects our dedication to exceeding national standards of excellence as well as our commitment to best serve our patients.”

As the nation’s premier professional society for cardiothoracic surgeons, STS is dedicated to enhancing the quality of patient care through education, research and advocacy.

“The STS rating is national validation that our doctors and heart surgery program rank among the very best in the country,” said Jason Jankowiak, vice president of Catholic Health Cardiovascular Services. “For patients who need surgery to restore blood flow to the heart caused by a blocked artery, it means that our bypass surgery program meets the highest standards for quality, safety and achieving the best outcomes.”

STS recently developed a comprehensive system that allows patients to compare the quality of cardiac surgery among hospitals nationwide. “We have been participating in STS’ voluntary rating system since 2008 to further demonstrate our commitment to deliver the highest quality cardiac surgery services,” said Julie LaManna, Catholic Health senior director of Cardiac Services. “STS relies on the largest single-specialty database in the country, with over 900 hospitals and 3.5 million patient records, to arrive at its quality ratings.”

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.”

The Heart Center at Mercy Hospital also achieved STS three-star national rating for the periods covering January 2008 to December 2008 and July 2008 to June 2009. 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.