LI hospitals perform well on treating patients with heart disease, report says

Dr. Stanley Katz, senior vice president of cardiovascular Dr. Stanley Katz, senior vice president of cardiovascular services for the North Shore-LIJ Health System, in a cardiac catheterization lab at North Shore-LIJ in Manhasset on May 8, 2014. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

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Hospitals performing open-heart and minimally invasive cardiac procedures on Long Island fared well in the state's tally on patient outcomes, two newly released analyses show.

Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park was one of two that ranked best statewide for multiple forms of heart-valve surgery.

Overall, New York ranks among states with the lowest death rates within 30 days of major heart procedures. Some medical experts attribute that to mandatory reporting and the public posting of those results. Doctors with the best, worst and in-between outcomes are listed by name.

The reports come from the state Health Department and provide a detailed assessment of so-called risk-adjusted mortality.

"The state Department of Health's analysis of cardiac outcomes in hospitals across New York has contributed to continuous improvements in the care delivered to New Yorkers with heart disease," said Dr. Stanley Katz, senior vice president of cardiovascular services for the North Shore-LIJ Health System.

Mandatory reporting -- a 20-year endeavor in New York -- is overseen by a cardiac advisory committee, a panel of more than 25 experts.

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The latest data cover procedures performed from 2009 through 2011. One report involves 58,032 cardiac surgeries performed at 41 centers, eight on Long Island. The other details 160,065 angioplasties at 59 centers, about a dozen on Long Island.

Health department officials say the reports are designed as guides for patients, their families and health care providers.

For valve replacement surgeries, Long Island Jewish Medical Center was cited as one of only two institutions with risk-adjusted mortality significantly lower than the statewide rate.

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LIJ's risk-adjusted mortality, based on 618 surgeries, was 2.10 compared with 3.76 statewide.

The other institution cited for low risk-adjusted mortality for valve surgery was Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan. Both hospitals received the state's highest designation of "double stars."

Risk adjustment is a complex statistical calculation.

State analysts take into account a variety of complex factors, including so-called co-morbidities, or additional disorders.

Dr. Kevin Marzo, chief of cardiology at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, said mandatory reporting is positively viewed in the medical community because it helps improve patient care.

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"We're proud of the consistent high quality of New York reporting of open heart and coronary interventional procedures," Marzo said.

"I think it provides information for both hospitals and patients," he said. "In an era of transparency, it is a benchmark on how we provide care to Long Islanders."

North Shore University Hospital's Manhasset campus received double stars for patients undergoing emergency and nonemergency angioplasty, a minimally invasive procedure in which a stent is used to restore the free-flow of blood in an artery.

The hospital had the lowest risk-adjusted mortality rate for the entire three-year period covered in the report, marking the eighth consecutive reporting period it has received double stars for angioplasty outcomes.

Thousands of angioplasties were performed on Long Island during the assessment period: 8,698 at St. Francis Hospital in Flower Hill; 5,450 at North Shore; 5,820 at LIJ; 5,091 at Stony Brook and 3,169 at Winthrop, to name a few.

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"Basically, in reviewing the reports for both open-heart and [angioplasty] it is obvious how we have been able to improve our care of patients," said Dr. Jack Soterakis, medical director and senior vice president at St. Francis.

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