State: Northwell leads pack on heart procedures

All heart: State-of-the-art technology is one of the reasons Northwell Health's cardiac programs soar in a new Department of Health report.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

In the unfortunate event that you require open-heart surgery, look north.

That’s the word from the New York State Department of Health, which for the sixth consecutive time has ranked the Northwell Health system head-and-shoulders above other New York provider networks and independent hospitals regarding outcomes from certain open-heart surgeries and other cardiac procedures.

Topping the list was the Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Although the New Hyde Park hospital’s cardiac program has since been merged into North Shore University Hospital’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital, for the 2012-2014 reporting period, LIJ’s cardiothoracic team recorded the state’s best survival rate for patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting surgeries.

Also not too shabby: Manhasset’s NSUH boasted a “significantly better success rate for percutaneous coronary interventions,” according to the Northwell Health system, citing a second Department of Health study.

Brooklyn’s Maimonides Medical Center, a Northwell Health affiliate, also ranked high on the state’s PCI scale, “further demonstrating the cardiovascular expertise available throughout Northwell Health,” the Long Island-based system said this week.

Northwell Health trumpeted the Department of Health’s findings following the release of a state study of adult cardiac surgery programs and a separate three-year state review of percutaneous coronary interventions, nonsurgical procedures designed to treat narrowing coronary arteries. Each report processed data from patients discharged between Dec. 1, 2011, and November 30, 2014, while also singling out performances in the 2014 calendar year only.

Noting eight consecutive reporting periods where NSUH and LIJ’s combined Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery was recognized by the Department of Health for “significantly better outcomes” for coronary artery bypass grafting – essentially, the repair or replacement of heart valves – as well as valve and combined valve/CABG surgeries, Alan Hartman, Northwell Health’s senior vice president and executive director of cardiothoracic services, commended the leadership of S. Jacob Scheinerman, the former associate chairman of cardiothoracic surgery at LIJ who now leads the open-heart surgical team at Northwell’s Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.

But Scheinerman didn’t do it alone, Hartman noted.

“That kind of superior performance is a testament to the extraordinary team of cardiac specialists who are saving lives every day,” the senior VP said.

Alan Hartman: Saving lives, daily.

Long Island Jewish and the Maimonides Medical Center were two of only five hospitals in the state with significantly better outcomes than the statewide average during the three-year reporting period.

Also shining was Bay Shore’s Southside Hospital and Mineola’s NYU Winthrop Hospital, which in the state’s analysis of adult cardiac procedures performed in 2014 only were both ranked as statistically better than state averages.

In a 2014-only review of PCI procedures, Southside Hospital joined Maimonides Medical Center among the five statewide hospitals with significantly higher-than-average success rates. Maimonides also led the pack in that one-year analysis with the state’s lowest readmission rates following PCI procedures.

Regarding PCI cases with patients discharged between Dec. 1, 2011, and Nov. 30, 2014, NSUH and Maimonides Medical Center were two of only four hospitals in the state with superior outcomes – with Maimonides emerging as the only New York facility to earn the Department of Health’s coveted “double asterisk” rating for emergency and non-emergency cases.

The adult cardiac surgery study analyzed 58,010 total procedures, including isolated CABG, valve, valve/CABG, transcatheter aortic valve replacement and other cardiac surgeries performed at 41 statewide hospitals. The percutaneous coronary intervention study covered 143,535 PCI procedures – also known as angioplasty – at 62 New York hospitals.

The reports also singled out the performances of individual physicians, including L. Michael Graver, a cardiothoracic surgeon who operated previously at LIJ and is now part of NSUH’s Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital. Graver was counted among six statewide cardiothoracic surgeons with significantly lower mortality rates, out of more than 140 evaluated during the three-year review period.

Also praised was James Taylor, co-director of the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital, who joined Northwell Health in 2015 but distinguished himself during the three-year reporting period by performing 282 isolated CABG surgeries with a zero-mortality rate.

Prior to joining Northwell Health, Taylor performed open-heart surgeries at both Stony Brook University Hospital and The Heart Center at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn. Stony Brook Medicine and St. Francis both ranked in the middle of the pack in the state’s three-year adult cardiac and PCI studies.

Among the more than 450 statewide cardiologists who performed angioplasty procedures during the three years covered in the PCI report, Carl Reimers of Lenox Hill Hospital and Maimonides Medical Center specialists Sergey Ayzenberg and Michael Friedman were among only 12 cardiologists to receive the Department of Health’s double asterisk rating.

Northwell Health Executive Vice President Barry Kaplan, co-director of the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital and cardiology chairman at both NSUH and LIJ, praised the performances of the health system’s cardiac specialists.

“These outstanding results are due to an unparalleled team effort,” said Kaplan, noting a “comprehensive approach to all interventional cardiology procedures and an unwavering commitment to the best patient care at every stage in the process.”