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Baystate in top 50 for cardiovascular care

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Medical Center is one of the nation's top 50 hospitals for heart and vascular care, according to a new Thomson Reuters study that examined patient outcomes and rated hospitals for their performance in several key areas of cardiovascular treatment. No other hospital in New England made the list. The study, now in its twelfth year, for the first time singled out 50 hospitals rather than the traditional practice of naming 100 winners. "We've chosen a more elite group of winners this year. These hospitals have raised the bar significantly," said Jean Chenoweth, senior vice president for performance improvement and 100 Top Hospitals program at Thomson Reuters. "They deliver higher survival rates, shorter hospital stays, fewer readmiss-ions, and lower costs which adds up to enormous value for the communities they serve. As a result, everyone benefits: patients, families, employers, insurers and the hospital itself." The study examined the performance of 1,022 hospitals by analyzing outcomes for patients with heart failure and heart attacks and for those who received coronary bypass surgery and percutaneous coronary inter-ventions such as angioplasties. Baystate Medical Center is on the Thomson Reuters honor roll for the second consecutive year. The study shows that 96 percent of cardiovascular inpatients survive and approximately 93 percent remain complication-free, indicative of improved cardiovascular care across-the-board over the past decade. The 50 top hospitals' performance surpasses these high-water marks as indicated by: Better risk-adjusted survival rates 33 percent fewer deaths than non-winning hospitals for bypass surgery. Lower complications indices 21 percent lower for heart failure complications. Fewer patients readmitted to the hospital in the 30 days following discharge. Shorter hospital visits and lower costs. Top hospitals discharge heart patients a half day sooner and spend $1,300 less per case than non-winners. "Patients have every right to expect the absolute best when they come to us for cardiovascular care," said Dr. Aaron Kugelmass, chief of the division of cardiology at Baystate Medical Center. "This honor proves we're providing world-class treatment and world-class value to our community, and it makes all of us extremely proud." The study evaluated general and applicable specialty, short-term, acute care, non-federal U.S. hospitals treating a broad spectrum of cardiology patients. Baystate Medical Center was one of 15 teaching hospitals with cardiovascular residency programs named to the list, which also included institutions such as the Mayo and Cleveland Clinics. "As one can see from the data reported in this analysis, we're very much at home among the leading hospitals in the nation," said Dr. John Rousou, chief of Cardiac Surgery at Baystate. "We as surgeons recognize that no goal takes higher precedence than the safest and most effective care for our patients." Thomson Reuters researchers analyzed 2008 and 2009 Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) data, Medicare cost reports, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare inpatient data. They scored hospitals in key performance areas: risk-adjusted mortality, risk-adjusted comp-lications, 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. "We hear from our patients and their families that they're thrilled with their experiences and outcomes here, which is of course really rewarding," said Dr. Mark Hirko, chief of vascular surgery at Baystate Medical Center. "But this data-driven validation of our efforts is just as satisfying: The numbers clearly show that people in our community are getting the best." A dedicated heart and vascular center is a major component of Baystate's Hospital of the Future, now under construction at its Springfield campus and on schedule to open in 2012. "The Baystate Heart and vascular program is setting a gold standard for quality of care not only in the region, but nationally," said Dr. Evan Benjamin, senior vice president of healthcare quality for Baystate Health. "It reflects a longstanding and concerted effort to maximize the quality and the value of the care we provide to every one of our patients. And this is the level of quality we're working toward in every area of care we provide."

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