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St. Mary Earns Quality Recognition from Independence Blue Cross for Cardiac Care
St. Mary Heart and Vascular Center named Blue Distinction Center.

LANGHORNE, Pa., May 25, 2010 – St. Mary Medical Center today announces that it has been designated by Independence Blue Cross as a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care. This specialty designation puts a high value on research and evidence-based health and medical information, which along with compassion, safety and quality, are the hallmarks of clinical care at St. Mary.

Blue Distinction is a designation awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies to medical facilities that have demonstrated expertise in delivering quality health care. St. Mary Medical Center is among 400 select facilities nationwide that have received this quality recognition for cardiac care.

Thomas Nicosia, DL, FACHE, Cardiovascular Service Line Administrator at St. Mary, said that quality outcomes are better at medical facilities that perform a high number of procedures. More than 4,000 open-heart surgeries and over 40,000 cardiac catheterizations have been performed at St. Mary. “Our team of highly qualified physicians and nurses perform a large number of heart and vascular procedures each year. Their level of expertise, coupled with our facility’s advanced technological capabilities, results in exceptional care for our patients. This latest recognition from Independence Blue Cross confirms St. Mary’s reputation for exceeding national standards of care,” Nicosia says.

“High standards of quality care are consistently demonstrated throughout our cardiovascular service line,” adds Nicosia. “The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), a national organization, awarded St. Mary its highest rating for adult cardiac surgery, placing it in top 10 percent of all U.S. open-heart programs for cardiac surgery. In addition, patient satisfaction in our cardiovascular catheterization lab is among the top 5 percent nationally as reported by the National Research Corporation (NRC).

We consistently exceed state and national quality benchmarks in key measures for heart attack care and congestive heart failure. And although we routinely beat the 90-minute national standard for speed in treating heart attacks, we have set our performance goal to be within 60 minutes for door-to-balloon time.”

St. Mary’s Heart and Vascular program provides comprehensive care and advanced procedures, including minimally invasive heart valve replacement; ablation for atrial fibrillation; thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysm stent grafting; structural heart closure of atria septal defects; cardiac resynchronization therapy; and Aquapheresis for congestive heart failure. The nationally certified Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at St. Mary helps those with heart disease regain strength and functionality.

Cardiovascular Disease continues to be the leading cause of death according to statistics from the American Heart Association, and St. Mary is dedicated to providing optimal standards of care to meet the healthcare needs of our community and is pleased to be designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care.

“Blue Distinction Centers show our commitment to working with doctors and hospitals in communities across the country to identify leading institutions that meet clinically validated quality standards and deliver better overall outcomes in patient care,” says Allan Korn, MD, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Chief Medical Officer.

To be designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care, St. Mary met the following selection criteria:

· an established cardiac care program, performing required annual volumes for certain procedures (for example, a minimum of 125 cardiac surgical procedures annually, including both CABG and/or valve surgery)

· appropriate experience of the cardiac team, including sub-specialty board certification for interventional cardiologists and cardiac surgeons

· an established acute care inpatient facility, including intensive care, emergency, and a full range of cardiac services

· full facility accreditation by a CMS-deemed national accreditation organization

· low overall complication and mortality rates

· a comprehensive quality management program