Consolidated Heart Surgery Program Opens at Alegent Health
Physician-led consolidation is driven by research pointing to patient outcomes
OMAHA, Neb. – Two strong cardiovascular surgery programs at Alegent Health have pulled together to form one consolidated heart surgery program at Bergan Mercy Medical Center. This exceptional program has assembled heart experts who have 180 combined years of experience in performing open-heart surgeries. This depth of experience is critical as the healthcare industry sees the number of open-heart surgeries decrease.
Studies show that the higher number of surgeries that a physician performs, the better the outcomes and lower the mortality rates for patients. One such study, released by Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, points out that higher provider volume is associated with lower risk of death for both low-risk and moderate-to-high-risk patients. Healthcare quality analysts with The LeapFrog Group concur, reporting that “high-volume surgeons often have markedly lower mortality rates than surgeons who perform those procedures infrequently.”
The consolidated program at Bergan Mercy will offer patients the most experienced cardiovascular and thoracic surgeons in the region working hand-in-hand with the area’s premier cardiologists.
“We brought together a team of cardiologists, vascular and cardiac surgeons, hospital administrators and other healthcare professionals and really thought through the whole process,” said Jeffrey Carstens, M.D., cardiologist and the executive medical director of the newly formed Heart & Vascular Institute.
Thomas Langdon, M.D., cardiovascular surgeon and surgical director of the Heart & Vascular Institute, added that “collaboration is clearly the key word in being able to put together the two programs into one world-class program at a single campus. The clear benefit of this move is for our patients, that they receive consistent and uniform care with best practices being performed at a single institution.”
Driving physicians, the focus throughout the consolidation process was the patient. They were joined by nurses, administrators and other healthcare experts who worked to create an environment where patients would receive the best care from the best team. “The Alegent Health Consolidated Heart Surgery Program has taken the best learnings, skills and experiences from the open-heart programs at Immanuel Medical Center and Bergan Mercy Medical Center and built upon those successes to take us to the next level,” said John May, vice president of cardiovascular services for Alegent Health. Together, the new program and its staff will take Alegent Health and its patients into the future.
Kelly Clark of Council Bluffs experienced the consolidated program first hand when he underwent aortic valve replacement and bypass surgery three weeks ago. It wasn’t the first time Clark has undergone open heart surgery. He went through bypass surgery 13 years ago – he describes the difference between his experience then and now as “night and day.” “Whatever they did – it really worked,” Clark said. ”I had great care. When I went in, I could only walk six feet before stopping to catch my breath. Now I don’t have to stop.”Construction on a cardiovascular wing continues at Bergan Mercy Medical Center, which has already yielded a dedicated cardiac patient room floor and plans for four additional operating rooms.
Positive Patient Experiences
The consolidation will also provide the region with leading-edge technology that will further enhance Alegent Health’s patient-centered care.
“With this consolidation, we will be able to offer newer and more-advanced procedures to our patients,” Carstens said. To patients like Kelly Clark – that is what the future is all about.