For heart surgeon Dr. Douglas Baldwin, time means life – literally. “Time is of the essence with a heart attack,” said Baldwin, Marquette General Hospital cardiac, thoracic and vascular surgeon. “Our expert staff synchronizes care for these patients, making our system seamless which leads to outcomes among the best in the nation.” Being a major player in the cardio team at MGH, Baldwin was not surprised to learn that Marquette General has again been named one of the nation’s 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals.
This marks the sixth consecutive year that Marquette General has been cited for excellence in heart care. The Thomson Reuters study examined the performance of more than 1,000 hospitals by analyzing outcomes for patients with heart failure and heart attacks and for those who received coronary bypass surgery and percutaneous coronary interventions such as angioplasties.
“To be recognized as a top cardiovascular for the sixth consecutive time is a testament to the strength of our program,” said A. Gary Muller, FACHE, Marquette General President and CEO. “It’s yet another validation that patients have top quality care, right here in Marquette.”
A key component to successful outcomes for cardiovascular patients at Marquette General is the protocol used when a patient is experiencing chest pain. Since time is crucial, these steps begin with the paramedics performing an EKG, which looks for patterns among heartbeats and rhythms to diagnose various heart conditions.
If the EKG indicates potential myocardial infarction, or heart attack, the paramedics report this immediately to Marquette General’s Emergency Department. Once the call is received that a potential heart attack patient is en route, a “Code MI” is called at the hospital. This prompts the catheterization (cath) lab staff to prepare a room for a cath procedure. A cardiologist, including physicians from Upper Michigan Cardiovascular Associates, PC, is also alerted.
The cardiovascular team is gowned and ready to go when the patient arrives. Depending on symptoms, the patient may remain in the Emergency Department for observation, or move swiftly into the prepped cath lab for life-saving interventions.
The Thomson Reuters study shows that 97 percent of cardiovascular inpatients in U.S. hospitals survive and approximately 96 percent remain complication-free, reflecting improved cardiovascular care across-the-board over the past year. The 50 top hospitals’ performance surpasses these high-water marks as indicated by:
• Better risk-adjusted survival rates (23 percent fewer deaths than non-winning hospitals for bypass surgery patients).
• Lower complications indices (40 percent lower rate of heart failure complications).
• Fewer patients readmitted to the hospital after 30 days.
• Shorter hospital visits and lower costs. Top hospitals discharge bypass patients nearly a full day sooner and spend $4,200 less per bypass case than non-winners.
• Increased use of internal mammary artery (IMA) for coronary artery bypass surgeries. Top hospitals have increased their use of this recommended procedure from 88 to 96 percent
This year’s 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals were also noted to have continued to deliver excellent care and improve their performance despite a tough economic climate.
“The hospitals in this study have provided measurably better care and are more efficient than their peers, demonstrating incredibly strong focus by hospital leadership at a time when the healthcare system is steeped in volatility,” said Jean Chenoweth, senior vice president for performance improvement and 100 Top Hospitals® program at Thomson Reuters.
The study evaluated general and applicable specialty, short-term, acute care, non-federal U.S. hospitals treating a broad spectrum of cardiology patients.
Thomson Reuters researchers analyzed 2009 and 2010 Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) data, Medicare cost reports, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare data. They scored hospitals in key performance areas: risk-adjusted mortality, risk-adjusted complications, core measures (a group of measures that assess process of care), percentage of coronary bypass patients with internal mammary artery use, 30-day mortality rates, 30-day readmission rates, severity-adjusted average length of stay, and wage- and severity-adjusted average cost.
More information on the study and other 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals research is available at www.100tophospitals.com. For more information about the Marquette General Heart Institute visit www.mgh.org/heart/heart.html. For more information about Upper Michigan Cardiovascular Associates, PC, visit www.upheart.net.