When Their Patients Need Heart Surgery,
Cardiologists Trust Virginia Hospital Center
HealthReach, Fall 2013 | Page 1-3
More than 20 years ago, John R. Garrett, MD, FACS, Chief of Cardiac, Vascular & Thoracic Surgery, recognized that having dedicated surgeons who only operated at one hospital would offer the best, safest and most effective way to care for heart surgery patients. While it’s common for surgeons to operate at several hospitals, Dr. Garrett believed that having the same surgeons and clinical support team members work together on every surgery would produce a cardiac surgery center of excellence, leading to better outcomes for patients.
John R. Garrett, MD, FACS and John W. Rhee, MD, FACS lead the cardiac surgery program favored by referring physicians.
He was right. Today, Dr. Garrett and his partner, John W. Rhee, MD, FACS operate exclusively at Virginia Hospital Center and are experts in bypass surgery, valvular reconstruction and replacement, arrhythmia surgery, minimally invasive surgeries, stenting and many other procedures. Together, they lead the fastestgrowing cardiac surgery program in the area whose combined quality data exceeds national benchmarks for length of stay, mortality, readmission and patient satisfaction. It’s these quality metrics that contributed to Virginia Hospital Center being recently named as one of America’s 100 Top Hospitals® by Truven Health Analytics.
“Hospitals invest huge resources into their cardiac surgery programs and excellent outcomes and program development are expected. We believe there is no place for mediocrity when it comes to heart surgery,” says Dr. Garrett.
“Having two surgeons of the caliber of Dr. Garrett and Dr. Rhee operating solely at Virginia Hospital Center translates to more efficient care, better health outcomes and an outstanding experience for our cardiac surgery patients,” says James B. Cole, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The cardiac surgery program’s dedication to excellence in all aspects of care mirrors the standards required to be one of America’s 100 Top Hospitals.”
No one understands the importance of quality and patient satisfaction better than doctors themselves. That’s why so many cardiologists in Northern Virginia, including Azita Moalemi, MD, refer their patients to Virginia Hospital Center for heart surgery.
Dr. Moalemi takes into consideration a surgeon’s experience and complication rate, as well as what her patients relay to her about their surgery and hospital stay.
“Dr. Rhee has one of the lowest complication rates of any surgeon in the area and a 100% satisfaction rate with my patients,” she says. “He has an excellent bedside manner and he is a highly-skilled surgeon. To find these two qualities together is very rare.”
Cardiologist Antonio Parente, MD says that as a referring physician, a successful surgery for his patients comes first — and he has referred all of his patients to Virginia Hospital Center for the past 22 years.
“I know how well my patients are going to do here, how happy they are going to be while in the Hospital with the care they will receive — and how pleased their families will be,” he says. “Each patient feels special. Uniformly, they are absolutely thrilled with their experience at Virginia Hospital Center — the surgeons who see them every day, the nursing staff on the unit, and the extreme attention to detail in every aspect of their care.”
WHY CARDIOLOGISTS CHOOSE VIRGINIA HOSPITAL CENTER
When surgeons go between multiple hospitals for surgery, the continuity of patient care can be impacted, scheduling becomes complex, and at times, patients meet their surgeon for the first time on the day of surgery. At Virginia Hospital Center, the collective experience and longevity of the cardiac surgery team produces quality surgical outcomes that consistently exceed national averages. Surgical scheduling is done with ease and patients meet one-on-one with the cardiac surgeon before surgery is even scheduled.
Having a dedicated team that operates only at Virginia Hospital Center “really enhances the service to our patients and physicians,” says John Golden, MD, an interventional cardiologist with Kaiser Permanente who has been referring patients to Virginia Hospital Center for four years. “Working with a consistent team and facility is very important. It’s hard to do complex procedures at multiple locations with different teams. Our patients get the best quality with consistency.”
Dr. Garrett and Dr. Rhee are located in an office inside the Hospital that is literally steps away from the Cardiac Unit, not in a separate office building miles away from the Hospital. This close proximity to the patient enables the surgeon to provide continual oversight and management before, during and after surgery. This proven approach results in top quality, greater efficiency and high satisfaction for both patients and referring physicians.
“Because Drs. Garrett and Rhee only practice at Virginia Hospital Center, the post-op surgical care is meticulous,” says Dr. Moalemi. “The same surgeon who performed the surgery is monitoring and coordinating the patient’s care while in the Hospital, resulting in better continuity of care.”
“Referring physicians know that we will be responsible for their patients’ care from start to finish,” Dr. Rhee says. “Nothing happens without our knowledge. There are strict protocols for post-operative care. If there is any deviation, we are informed. There are no layers between the Unit and the surgeon.”
Cardiac, Vascular & Thoracic Surgery