Carle rated best CU cardiology provider

By Kathleen Foody

Carle Foundation Hospital has been rated the best provider for cardiology services in the Champaign-Urbana area according to a study by Healthgrades, an independent health care ratings company.

The annual study analyzes more than 5,000 hospitals across the country in 28 different diagnoses and procedures, Kristin Reed, consultant at Healthgrades, said.

Analysts look at three years worth of Medicare data submitted to the federal government by the hospitals and also perform a risk adjustment based on the hospital’s location and population.

“Some hospitals have sicker patients,” Reed said. “Considering the risk factor basically puts patients on a level playing field so that we can then compare them fairly to each other.”

Cardiac services are rated by mortality rates, including any deaths that occur within 180 days of leaving the hospital, she said.

Carle received five-star ratings in the areas of heart failure and atrial fibrillation treatment.

Dr. Matthew Gibb, a physician at Carle, said the department is pleased some of the processes and systems they have put in place to look at outcomes for cardiovascular procedures are being recognized.

Carle’s heart failure clinic has allowed the hospital to continue to improve its cardiac care, he said.

“We’re able to monitor patients more frequently. We can be sure they have their medication, follow their diets and look for early signs of problems,” Gibb said. “We can then intervene but allow them to remain an outpatient.”

Reed said it is not surprising that Carle has been so successful in cardiac care because of the clinic’s monitoring of patients after their discharge from the hospital.

“Heart failure is a chronic condition and can be overwhelming to patients,” she said. “They have to worry about medications, weighing themselves and looking for small changes in their health. It is important when they are discharged that they do have quality follow-up care.”

Gibb said the clinic has lowered the hospital’s readmission rate for cardiac patients and has also added to improving their survival outcomes.

Reed said it is important for people in the Champaign-Urbana community to know that having a five-star cardiology hospital in their backyard means they will receive quality care.

Carle Foundation is in the top 15 percent of hospitals in the nations in those specific areas, she said.

“On average, a typical patient has a 69 percent lower chance of dying in a five-star hospital compared to one-star and a 45 percent lower chance of dying in a five-star than in the average U.S. hospital,” Reed said.

Gibb said Carle continually evaluates its own performance to provide the best patient care possible.

Reed said that ratings like this confirm what many hospitals already know about their quality of care.

“Five-star hospitals tend to have better processes and make quality one of their top priorities,” she said. “They commit resources to measuring their performance themselves. We’re pretty much validating what they already know.”

But she added that ratings can be important information for patients because every hospital is different.

HealthGrade’s entire report can be found at the company’s Web site, healthgrades.com.

“Our emphasis is on trying to get best quality of care and outcomes for patients that we can and to do that we have to continually look at how we’re performing,” Gibb said. “Our hope is that we can continue to provide the best cardiovascular care we can.”