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Harrison cardiothoracic rated top in Washington

Harrison HealthPartners Bremerton Cardiothoracic Surgery was ranked as the No. 1 heart surgery group in Washington by Consumer Reports magazine. The ranking, published in the September edition, was based on the three-star rating the group received from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), the highest rating available.

STS tracks data from about 90 percent of the approximately 1,100 groups that perform cardiac services in the United States. Harrison Health Partners was the only heart surgery group in Washington state to receive, for the past two years, the three-star rating, which is given based on quality measures, performance and complications.

Dr. Christopher King, one of the two cardiothoracic surgeons with the group, said being in the top 10 percentile in the country for two years in a row is due to having the right people at all levels, as well as having Harrison leaders buy into the concept of quality.

“The success comes from having the right people — we are all committed to doing heart surgery with compassion and skill,” said King, who joined Harrison eight years ago to develop the cardiac program. “We provide care to the individual, and delivering care to the people in our community — including our friends and neighbors — keeps us accountable.”

When King came to Harrison eight year ago, the hospital did not perform heart surgery or heart catherization procedures. Since then, the team has performed more than 1,400 open-heart surgeries and has been consistently rated by patients in the 99 percentile for satisfaction. During the first year of the program, the group had 110 cases and now the average is 250 cases per year.

“The complexity of care we provide has grown a great deal,” King said, noting that every patient is impacted by more than 100 professionals from different areas including nurses and ancillary service providers. “Our strongest point is that we focus on quality of care and we measure the quality all the time… We like to be as good as we possibly can be for every patient we touch, and it takes the commitment of the entire team.”

Dr. William Reed, another veteran surgeon who joined Harrison Health Partners two years ago, also credits the team with the high quality of the service.

“(The rating) is very significant at a number of levels. You have a group that’s achieving that kind of statistic in a community hospital… There’s a myth that you can only get good heart surgery in a teaching hospital and this dispels that myth,” he said.

He said the high quality of services also requires the financial commitment of Harrison Medical Center to invest into equipment and other needs.

“It’s a big commitment for Harrison to accommodate a big need in the community,” he said. “…The money, running the facilities well, hiring the right people is the key. It requires a lot of efforts from many people providing the support and the system in place, and that’s what those ratings are about.”

 
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