U.Va. Medical Center Named One of Nation's Top 100 Hospitals for Inpatient Cardiovascular Care

November 19, 2009 – The University of Virginia Medical Center has been designated one of the nation's 100 top-performing hospitals for inpatient cardiovascular care by Thomson Reuters, a leading market information and benchmarking company.

This marks the sixth time that the U.Va. Medical Center has been recognized as a top cardiovascular hospital by Thomson Reuters, which released the 2009 edition of its "100 Top Hospitals: Cardiovascular Benchmarking" study earlier this week.

"We are honored by this recognition and proud of our Heart and Vascular Center's role in setting and teaching national standards for heart care," said R. Edward Howell, vice president and chief executive officer of the Medical Center.

The study identifies hospitals that set the nation's benchmarks for treating patients suffering from heart failure and heart attacks and for performing coronary bypass surgery and percutaneous cardiovascular interventions, such as angioplasty.

U.Va. is one of three Virginia hospitals to be included in the Top 100 rankings. U.Va. is listed as one of the 30 leading teaching hospitals with cardiovascular residency programs. The other Virginia hospitals – St. Mary's in Richmond and Centra Health in Lynchburg – achieved top performing status in the category of teaching hospitals without cardiovascular residency programs.

At U.Va., cardiovascular care is provided through the Heart and Vascular Center, which serves more than 5,000 in-patients each year. The center's multidisciplinary approach brings together specialists from cardiology, pediatric cardiology, thoracic and vascular surgery and interventional radiology.

"We are very proud to have achieved the excellent clinical outcomes that are at the core of this recognition," said Dr. Brian Annex, chief of the Department of Cardiology. "Every day, our physicians and staff work diligently to provide the most comprehensive and best heart care to our patients, no matter if they need treatment for a common condition or one that requires advanced procedures and technology. Providing the best medical care is our mission, today and for the future."

According to Dr. Irving L. Kron, chairman of the Department of Surgery, "This recognition signifies what can be achieved when we focus on teamwork and offer patient-centered care." To that, Dr. John A. Kern, surgical director of the Heart and Vascular Center, added, "Everyone in the Heart and Vascular Center works hard to provide the best patient care possible, and this is a wonderful recognition of their personal efforts and dedication."

The 2009 study reviewed data from 971 short-term, acute care, non-federal U.S. hospitals that treat a broad spectrum of cardiology patients. According to Thomson Reuters, compared to their peer hospitals, top performing hospitals:

• perform 50 percent more cardiac surgeries;
• have lower mortality rates – 17 percent lower for heart attacks; 10 percent lower for heart failure; 27 percent lower for bypass surgery and 22 percent lower for percutaneous cardiovascular interventions;
• have fewer post-operative complications (99 percent of patients were complication-free);
• have average hospital stays that are about 12 percent shorter;
• have 12 percent lower costs per case.

In preparing the study, Thomson Reuters researchers analyzed 2007 and 2008 Medicare Provider Analysis and Review data, 2008 Medicare cost reports and data from other sources. They scored hospitals in key performance areas: risk-adjusted medical mortality, risk-adjusted surgical 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, procedure volume, severity-adjusted average length of stay, and wage- and severity-adjusted average cost.

More information about heart care at the University of Virginia Health System can be found here.