Top ratings for Alegent Health Heart & Vascular Institute
Article Date: Mar 21, 2012

Less than two years after combining two successful open heart surgery programs into one, the Alegent Health Heart & Vascular Institute (HVI) has emerged as one of the top hospitals in the nation for cardiac surgery outcomes.

Don’t believe us? Ask the experts.

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) awarded Alegent Health with three out of three stars for overall quality, a rating given to only 14 percent of the nation's hospitals. STS, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the highest quality outcomes for surgeries of the heart, lung and esophagus, compares and rates heart bypass surgery outcomes for hospitals across the country. The most recent rating, based on outcomes from July 2010 through June 2011, is based on multiple measures of quality, including pre-operative care, survival rate and lack of complications following surgery.

"This rating puts us among the top open heart surgery programs in the nation and validates the approach we’ve taken," explains Jeffrey Carstens, M.D., cardiologist and Executive Medical Director with HVI.

That approach – consolidating the open heart surgery programs at Immanuel Medical Center and Bergan Mercy Medical Center – moved all of Alegent Health’s open heart surgeries to Bergan Mercy in June of 2009.

Consolidating complex surgery under one roof has allowed us to capture the best aspects of both programs," explains Thomas Langdon, M.D., cardiothoracic surgeon and Director of Cardiovascular Surgery with HVI. We pulled those pieces together, refined our processes and now have standards that allow us to be more consistent in the care we provide."

Those standardized processes have led the HVI team to unprecedented outcomes:

  • Every single person who came to HVI for coronary bypass surgery in 2011, no matter how sick the patient or complicated the surgery, survived the operation and the following 30 days;
  • Patients recovered quicker at HVI, going home an average a day and a half earlier than the national average;
  • And despite a shortened length-of-stay, patients went home healthier than their counterparts across the country, with only six percent requiring re-admission within 30 days of surgery (compared to the national average of ten percent).

From the pre-operative evaluation to the operating room and from post-operative care to post-discharge follow-up – what we have here isn’t easy to replicate," says Dr. Carstens.

Dr. Langdon agrees. "All the pieces have to come together to achieve outcomes like this – everything from the surgeon and surgical team to the men and women who cook our patients’ food or clean their rooms. This excellence is only possible through the skill, dedication and teamwork of all the care givers involved."

What sets Alegent Health Heart & Vascular Institute apart from the rest?

Beyond the talent and dedication of the entire care team, there are several key things Alegent Health is doing differently to ensure the best possible care for their open heart surgery patients.

  • Alegent Health introduced the universal bed" concept to the metro, meaning every heart surgery patient remains in the same hospital room throughout their entire post-operative stay. Rather than move the patient from one unit to the next depending on the level of care he or she requires, we move the care around the patient," says Dr. Langdon. We’ve found that this method results in reduced medical errors, increased teamwork and greater overall patient satisfaction."
  • Rather than wait weeks for a visit with a cardiologist post-discharge, every cardiac surgery patient is seen in the clinic within 72 hours of going home. We make sure they understand their medication and their discharge plans; we find out if they’re doing okay at home; and we ensure they are going to get tied into cardiac rehabilitation," says Dr. Carstens. In the two years since this process was implemented, HVI have cut their readmission rates by more than sixty percent.


Reader Comments
Posted: Mar 23 2012 9:38 AM CST by Julie Grinnell

Proud to work with such a great team!




Posted: Mar 24 2012 11:06 AM CST by Jeff Carstens

Kudos to everyone involved in the excellent care that these patients receive. This is truly a great accomplishment and I am very proud to work with each and every one of you.




Posted: Mar 24 2012 11:16 AM CST by Wendell Barbee

Alegent Health has done a great job in integrating two successful programs. I am glad that everyone has put so much time and effort into making the program a success! Have a heart?? Come to Alegent for your care!!




Posted: Mar 25 2012 7:25 PM CST by Lou J.

Just wondering...I had a scan several years ago and scored a 1400...very high.Had a stress test approx 2-3 years ago and did ok. Had a heart cath. 2-3 years ago and had some blockage approx 30% in two places..I take 20 mg of crestor, Losartan and two 81 mg of aspirin daily. I'm active, walking, lifting weights and and 66. My question is should I get another stress test? I think I had one about 3 years ago....thanks, Lou




Posted: Mar 26 2012 11:20 AM CST by Tracy

When you have amazing leaders you achieve great outcomes!




Posted: Mar 26 2012 1:48 PM CST by Beth Llewellyn

Wonderful achievement! Clearly demonstrates a committment to Teamwork and Excellence that is putting the patient experience at the center of our focus.




Posted: Mar 26 2012 2:49 PM CST by Jeff Carstens

Lou,

If you remain active and your risk factors (cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes) are well controlled, then you may not need routine stress testing if you are not experiencing any symptoms. The best way to know for sure would be to make an appointment with your cardiologist or primary care physician to review your options.

Jeff Carstens, M.D.
Cardiologist, Alegent Health Clinic Heart & Vascular Specialists
Executive Medical Director, Alegent Health Heart & Vascular Institute




Posted: Mar 27 2012 8:23 AM CST by Bridget Weeks

This is certainly something to brag about! Congratulations to all of our amazing Physicians.




Posted: Apr 6 2012 6:13 PM CST by LuAnn Collmann

I have worked at Bergan for the past 2 1/2 years in the CS department, and for a year of that time was the CS tech assigned to HVI. I am so proud to say I have personally witnessed the dedication, and excellance of the best staff ever on HVI. YOU GUYS ROCK!!!




Posted: Apr 10 2012 8:52 AM CST by Kim Osborne

It's very easy to see how well HVI has accomplished their success. Not only do they do an excellent job caring for their patient's physical needs, their emotional and spiritual needs are met as well. Patients are touched by the sincere, kind manner in which they are cared for from all who enter the room!




Posted: Jan 12 2014 2:26 AM CST by Jodi Kirchner

My mom recently had double valve replacement at Creighton University Medical Center...we have had the greatest nursing staff a person could ask for!!!!! We couldn't ask for any better surgeon and nursing care for our mother!!!! Thanks so MUCH!!!!




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Related Links
Heart & Vascular Institute

Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Public Reporting

Thomas Langdon, M.D.

Jeffrey Carstens, M.D.

Bergan Mercy Medical Center

Immanuel Medical Center