Spectrum Mercy Nab Top Honors

November 22, 2006
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Grand Rapids’ Spectrum Health and Muskegon’s Mercy General Health Partners are two of the top 100 cardiovascular hospitals in the nation, according to Solucient, a health care information services company.

They were among the 10 Michigan hospitals cited in Solucient’s study of data regarding Medicare patients for 2004 and 2005. This was MGHP’s first appearance and Spectrum Health’s seventh appearance on the list, which Solucient has compiled for eight years. The information was presented this month in Modern Healthcare magazine.

“Cardiac surgery has been fortunate to have the strong support of our community’s primary care and specialty medical providers as well as the lakeshore hospitals,” said Dr. Theodore Boeve, cardiothoracic surgeon at MGHP. “We can continue to enjoy this level of care if we as a community continue to work together.”

At Spectrum Health, Dr. Richard McNamara, chief of cardiology, said quality, quantity and efficiency are hallmarks of cardiovascular care.

“There’s been a commitment — by the physicians and the administration and all of the nursing staff and support staff — to excellence, right from the emergency room to angioplasty and stents to open heart surgery,” McNamara said.

The Solucient study analyzed eight points for Medicare patients during 2004 and 2005:

  • Risk-adjusted medical mortality
  • Risk-adjusted surgical mortality
  • Risk-adjusted complications
  • Core measures score
  • Percentage of heart bypass patients with internal mammary artery use
  • Procedure volume
  • Severity-adjusted average length of stay
  • Wage- and severity-adjusted average cost.

More meaningful for patients: The study showed that the top 100 hospitals had 21 percent fewer deaths than expected for coronary artery bypass patients, while peer hospitals had only 1 percent fewer deaths than expected. And cardiovascular patients were discharged a half-day earlier — with bills 13 percent lower — than at hospitals not on the list.

Performing the most heart treatments in West Michigan helps Spectrum Health maintain high quality, McNamara said, noting that studies show correlations between the numbers of procedures and quality of care. Efficiency is also crucial in keeping down costs, which includes both monetary costs and the costs of risk management and patient inconvenience, he added.

“We are among the lowest, if not the lowest, in terms of length of stay for heart attacks, stenting and open heart surgery,” McNamara said. “We’re almost a full day shorter length of stay than other hospitals in Michigan. I think it speaks to the efficiency of care that is here.”

Spectrum Health handled 173 heart bypass surgeries, 867 heart failure cases and 1,025 angioplasty and stent insertions in Medicare patients in fiscal year 2005, according to Medicare data. MGHP saw 56 bypass surgeries, 288 heart failure cases and 123 angioplasty/stent insertions, according to the same data.

Roger Spoelman, president and chief executive officer of MGHP, stated, “In the past several years, MGHP has been recognized by numerous rating organizations as a leader in cardiac care. It is a blessing to see this community have access to this outstanding level of care.”

McNamara said the Solucient top 100 award carries the prestige of being based on empirical data, not on opinion, and staff members can take pride and patients can have confidence in that.

“You have to continuously keep your eye on the ball: patient service, quality of care and efficiency of care,” McNamara added.

Other Michigan hospitals on the top 100 list: Providence Hospital, Southfield; University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, Ann Arbor; Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit; Borgess Medical Center, Kalamazoo; Marquette General Hospital, Marquette; Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center, Dearborn; Munson Medical Center, Traverse City; and St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor.    

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