WVU Hospitals Heart Care in Top 20% in U.S.

Gannett News Service Study Gives Hospital “5-Star” Ranking

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Hospitals across the U.S., including West Virginia University Hospitals, have been participating in the federal government’s “Hospital Compare” project for the past several years, sharing detailed data on the treatments provided to patients with similar illnesses. The goal of the project is to identify effective hospital practices, and adopt them widely so that care is improved at all the nation’s hospitals.

In one of the first major analyses of the data by an outside news organization, Gannett News Service awarded five stars – the highest available ranking – to WVU Hospitals in both heart attack care and heart failure care.

The five-star ranking means that WVU was among the top 20 percent of all hospitals in the country.

The Heart Institute at West Virginia University includes the region’s top cardiologists, heart surgeons and other specialists, and has access to some of the most advanced diagnostic and treatment tools available anywhere. They treat hundreds of adult and pediatric heart patients each month. But the Hospital Compare data measures simple steps which can be used in any hospital – including providing heart attack patients with aspirin quickly after arrival, and giving them smoking cessation advice before discharge. Research shows these steps measurably improve patients’ recovery.

“Improving the quality of care for every patient is a crucial mission for WVU Hospitals,” said Bruce McClymonds, hospital president. “We are proud to be recognized for providing the right care, at the right time. But the real value of this report is identifying places where we can do better, and making changes to benefit our patients.”

The hospital recently created a new leadership position, vice president for quality and patient safety. Niti Armistead, M.D., the first person to hold the post, is responsible for coordinating efforts across the hospital to identify and eliminate any deficiencies in hospital care. She says the Gannett ranking reflects the high marks WVU Hospitals has earned since the program began.

“Hospital Compare is good, legitimate data and our performance on the cardiac measures is indeed very good,” Dr. Armistead said. “The Association of American Medical Colleges analyzed the Hospital Compare data from all medical-school affiliated teaching hospitals in the country. In 15 of 19 measures studied, WVUH was above the national average – and in 12, we were in the top 25%.”

The Hospital Compare database includes pneumonia and surgical patients, as well as the heart attack and heart failure patients studied by Gannett. The federal data, which is updated regularly, is online at:  www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov.

Gannett analyzed patient data released by Hospital Compare in June, 2006, and covers patients seen in the hospital between October 2004 and September, 2005. Their report is available online at:  http://gns.gannettonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060926/HOSPITALS/609260306.

- WVU -

For more information:
Steve Bovino, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

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