DOH: Island hospitals top cardiac-surgery charts

All heart: Northwell Health cardiac surgeons lead a strong selection of Long Island-based cardiothoracic experts, according to the New York State Department of Health.

Good news for regional patients facing the unfortunate reality of cardiac surgery: Some of the best outcomes in New York State for certain types of open-heart surgeries are happening on Long Island.

That’s according to the NYS Department of Health, which for the seventh consecutive reporting period has ranked New Hyde Park’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center among the best cardiac-surgery hospitals in the state – top of the list, in fact, for some open-heart procedures – while tossing statistical roses at various Northwell Health facilities and other Island hospitals.

In its recent report “Adult Cardiac Surgery in New York State (2013-2015),” the Health Department singled out Long Island Jewish’s cardiothoracic team – combining the cardiovascular teams at LIJ Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital and centralized in the highly specialized Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital – for better survival rates among patients undergoing isolated coronary artery bypass grafting surgeries, heart-valve repairs/replacements and both CABG and valve surgeries.

Long Island Jewish and Brooklyn’s Maimonides Medical Center, also a Northwell Health affiliate, were two of only four statewide hospitals scoring significantly better outcomes than the statewide average, according to the report. Both earned the Department of Health’s rare “double asterisk” for their valve and valve/CABG performances.

Two Northwell Health surgeons were also singled out in the state report. Of more than 140 surgeons evaluated in the study years, L. Michael Graver – who now operates at the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital – scored one of the four lowest “statistically significant, risk-adjusted” mortality rates for CABG, valve or valve/CABG procedures.

Surgeon Frank Rossell of Northwell Health’s Staten Island University Hospital also distinguished himself during the three-year reporting period: The report shows he performed 259 isolated CABG surgeries with a “statistically significant” zero mortality rate.

Rossell was the only physician in the state to receive a double asterisk in the isolated CABG category, according to Northwell Health.

All told, the Health Department analyzed 60,052 total adult cardiac surgeries performed at 40 statewide hospitals between 2013 and 2015, including the categories mentioned above and transcatheter aortic valve replacements.

The report, which studies mortality rates after all procedures and readmissions after isolated CABG surgeries, is a publication of the NYS Cardiac Data Reporting System, which over 20-plus years has become a highly regarded resource for quality improvements regarding open-heart surgeries and percutaneous (through the skin) coronary interventions.

Contributors to the report include representatives of numerous medical centers and cardiac facilities located in New York State and elsewhere, including representatives of the Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Other Long Island hospitals earning accolades in the report include Stony Brook University Hospital, which recorded one of the lowest risk-adjusted mortality rates among hospitals performing isolated CABG surgeries, and Mineola’s NYU Winthrop Hospital, which scored one of the lower RAMRs among just 24 statewide hospitals performing transcatheter aortic valve replacements.

During the study years, six Northwell hospitals – including Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital and Bay Shore’s Southside Hospital, which earned a NYS Health Department double asterisk in 2015 for decreased readmission rates following isolated CABG surgeries – performed 8,634 total cardiac surgeries, according to the New Hyde Park-based health system.

Already anticipating the next Health Department report – which will better reflect the integration of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center and NSUH cardiac teams – Northwell Health Senior Vice President Alan Hartman, executive director of the health system’s cardiothoracic services, said the entire health system was proud of the group and individual accomplishments of its cardiac surgery teams.

“Our cardiothoracic surgeons have demonstrated superior performance, along with their specialized cardiac teams, in providing life-saving treatment to the patients we serve,” Hartman said.