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St. Mary Medical Center Earns State and National Recognition
Cardiac care and pharmacy teams are recognized for clinical quality and innovation.

LANGHORNE, Pa., December 23, 2009 – St. Mary Medical Center was recently recognized for excellence in clinical care with awards from two separate organizations. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), a national organization, awarded St. Mary its highest rating for adult cardiac surgery, and the Pennsylvania Society of Health-System Pharmacists (PSHP) recognized the Medical Center for innovation and collaborative practice for the development of a new pharmacy protocol. Both awards are indicative of the Medical Center’s dedication to providing the highest quality care to its patients and the community.

Society of Thoracic Surgeons Rating

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons awarded St. Mary three stars for adult cardiac surgery, the highest rating bestowed by this national organization. St. Mary received the rating for the fourth consecutive semi-annual designation – a significant achievement – according to Thomas Nicosia, Cardiac Service Line Administrator.

“The STS developed the comprehensive rating system that allows for comparisons regarding the quality of cardiac surgery among hospitals across the country,” Nicosia says. “Approximately 10 percent of hospitals nationwide receive the three-star rating, which denotes the highest category of quality.”

St. Mary was the first hospital in Bucks County to offer open-heart surgery and continues to perform among the greatest number of open-heart surgeries in the region. St. Mary’s comprehensive cardiovascular service line also includes interventional cardiovascular catheterization, electrophysiology, and advanced imaging techniques.

“Earning this top rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons is a reflection of the excellent and comprehensive cardiac care provided consistently by St. Mary Medical Center,” says Anil Deshpande, MD, Program Director of Cardiothoracic Surgery Services.

Pennsylvania Society of Health-System Pharmacists (PSHP) Award

St. Mary earned the Innovative and Collaborative Practice Award from the Pennsylvania Society of Health-System Pharmacists (PSHP) for its new pharmacy protocol that governs the prescribing of Coumadin® (warfarin sodium) for patients recovering from joint replacement surgery.

The Pharmacy Managed Coumadin Protocol was developed jointly by the St. Mary Pharmacy and Orthopedics Department. Coumadin, a blood-thinning medication, is prescribed after hip or knee replacement surgery to help prevent the formation of potentially life-threatening blood clots such as deep vein thrombosis or DVT.

Under the new protocol, St. Mary pharmacists manage Coumadin dosing and monitor patients during post-surgical recovery in the hospital and also after discharge. During the in-home recovery process, St. Mary pharmacists track patients’ laboratory results, independently adjust doses of Coumadin, and contact patients to discuss adjustments in therapy.

“Each patient looks at us to deliver seamless care. This collaborative effort by the St. Mary Pharmacy, Orthopedics Department, and Nursing focuses on the patient first, resulting in enhanced treatment and successful outcomes,” says George Cautilli, MD, Medical Director, St. Mary Center for Joint Replacement. Cautilli took a lead role in developing the protocol and piloting it among his post-surgical patients.

According to Director of Pharmacy Thomas Burke, RPh, the protocol has been successful in its goals of keeping patients within targeted dosing safety ranges; reducing the risk of post-surgical complications such as internal bleeding, blood clots, and surgical site infections; and decreasing Coumadin-related hospital readmissions.

“This protocol, which was introduced in August 2008, has improved the quality and safety of patient care at St. Mary and has increased both patient and physician satisfaction,” Burke says. “Development of the protocol was a multidisciplinary endeavor, with physicians and representatives from the Pharmacy and Nursing all working together to make this much-needed process a reality.”

The PSHP’s Innovative and Collaborative Practice Award recognizes teams that have implemented innovative methods, practice models, or programs for enhancing the delivery of pharmaceutical care in organized healthcare systems.

The PSHP acknowledged the efforts of St. Mary Pharmacist Beata Wrobel, PharmD; Dr. Cautilli; Donna McNeill, RN, Joint Care Coordinator; Mamatha Dabir, RPh; Alice Varkey, RPh; Henry Trumbo, PharmD; Neal Adams, PharmD; Jennifer Smith, PharmD; and the St. Mary nursing staff.