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Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside Medical Center Receives Highest Scores for Heart Surgeries

Hospital in Oregon is latest in organization to be recognized for outstanding cardiac care

July 17, 2014



Male physician standing in foreground with woman physician at computer in background

If you need heart surgery, there is no better place to receive excellent care than Kaiser Permanente’s Sunnyside Medical Center near Portland, Ore.

That is the finding from a national consumer magazine, which recently named Sunnyside Medical Center as one of just 15 hospitals in the nation to earn top scores in both heart valve and bypass surgery.

These first-ever ratings by the magazine are based on patients’ medical record data from 400 hospitals nationwide, showing whether they survived the procedure and how they fared on other measures, including complications. The information comes from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, a national group that represents physicians who operate on the heart and other organs in the chest.

Sunnyside has been on STS’s all-star list since 2010, shortly after the hospital opened its Northwest Center for Heart and Vascular Care. Last month, Sunnyside — for the seventh consecutive time — was given a three-star rating by STS, the highest rating possible.

“We are very proud that Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside has received this distinguished recognition and many others,” said Yong Shin, MD, chief of cardiovascular surgery at the Kaiser Permanente Northwest Center for Heart and Vascular Care. “This honor reflects the hard work and dedication of our physicians, nurses, clinicians and care teams who excel in cardiac care not only here in the Northwest, but across our organization.”

Heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, is particularly important for Kaiser Permanente. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention point to heart disease and stroke as the cause of one of every three deaths, equal to 2,200 deaths per day. Hypertension control and cholesterol management have been national priorities for Kaiser Permanente for more than a decade and the efforts have paid off with life-saving studies and best-in-the-nation results.

In the past two years, both Kaiser Permanente Northern California (2013) and Kaiser Permanente Colorado (2012) were recognized as a Hypertension Control Champion by Million Hearts™, a national public-private initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services. The designation signifies a health plan as having had remarkable success controlling hypertension across its entire patient population.

Kaiser Permanente Northern California’s recognition by HHS followed a research study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that showed the region had nearly doubled the rate of blood-pressure control among adult members with diagnosed hypertension between 2001 and 2009 through one of the largest, community-based hypertension programs in the nation.

Kaiser Permanente Colorado was honored when its hypertension management efforts resulted in an improvement from an initial member control rate of 61 percent in 2008 to  82.6 percent in 2012. Nationally, hypertension control rates hover around 50 percent.

The Department of Health and Human Services, seeking a national leader in the field of cardiac care, asked Kaiser Permanente in 2011 to become a partner and to share examples of the many programs and activities that the organization has across its seven regions that align with their aims. Kaiser Permanente in 2003 developed the ALL/PHASE protocol, which utilizes low-cost and generic medications (such as aspirin, Lisinopril, and lipid-lowering medication) and clinical interventions to reduce heart attacks in our regions. The patients Kaiser Permanente initially included in its ALL/PHASE program were those with heart disease, as well as patients over the age of 55 who had diabetes. These patients had 60 percent fewer heart attacks and strokes.

Meanwhile, Kaiser Permanente continues to be a leader in combating heart disease. According to the 2013 HEDIS (Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set), Kaiser Permanente Hawaii was the number one health plan in the country for cholesterol management for commercial plan patients with cardiovascular conditions.  For more information on cardiovascular care, please see Kaiser Permanente’s Heart Health website.

“It is due to the collaborative efforts of high-performing doctors, nurses and staff that over the last several years Kaiser Permanente has become widely recognized as a national leader in health care quality and prevention, especially for cardiac care,” said Patrick Courneya, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer for Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan. “Our patients and members are benefiting from the cutting-edge technology and evidence-based practices that improve the care we deliver.”

To view the complete results of the ratings for bypass and heart valve surgeries, go to Consumer Reports.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve approximately 9.3 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.