Hospitals, health systems receive prestigious cardiovascular honor

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 - Tim Casey
Tim Casey, Executive Editor

Each year, Truven Health Analytics publishes a list of the top 50 cardiovascular hospital service lines. When the most recent results were announced on Nov. 9, there were some familiar hospitals as well as some that hadn’t received the honor before. All had outperformed their peers.

In fact, if all cardiovascular providers performed at the same level as the 50 winning hospitals, an additional $1.3 billion and approximately 7,900 additional lives could be saved annually,  according to the report’s authors.

The 50 hospitals also had significantly better survival rates and complication rates for CABG and PCI. In addition, they had lower 30-day heart failure, MI and all-cause mortality rates as well as readmission rates.

Further, the mean winning hospital spent more than $6,000 less per bypass surgery patient and nearly $2,000 less per admitted MI patient and released patients sooner than their peers.

Truven only includes publicly available data from the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review file, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Hospital Compare initiative and the Medicare Cost Report. Still, the authors noted that Medicare inpatients account for approximately two-thirds of patients receiving treatment for MI or experiencing heart failure as well as approximately one-half of patients undergoing PCI or CABG.

Truven noted that hospitals do not apply for inclusion and do not pay to market the honor.

Of the 50 hospitals, 34 were members of health systems, while four health systems had more than one winning hospital. The authors mentioned health systems could serve as a model in the future.

“This suggests that consistency in and alignment of performance is gaining some ground as the nation’s healthcare system moves toward more standard and reliable care,” they  wrote. “After all, to maintain and improve a service population’s health, hospital leaders associated with a health system must work together as an integrated team. By sharing best practices and repeating proven strategies within the system, all members at all levels of service learn from each other — improving the care delivered to all patients, regardless of system facility.”

Tim Casey
Executive Editor