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Tri-City Medical Center tops in heart care

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Tri-City Medical Center is No. 1 in San Diego County -- and among the top 1 percent nationally -- for reducing readmissions for heart attack and heart failure.

Why is that measurement so important?

Because not only do we want to get you healthy while you are a patient at the hospital, we want you to stay healthy after you leave.

CEO Larry Anderson recognized that the best approach was to get all parties involved in the treatment to sit at the table -- among them hospitalists, cardiologists, case managers, interventional radiologists, and social workers.

Under Anderson’s leadership, Tri-City Medical Center established the Cardiovascular Health Institute in 2010. The institute employs a data-driven, clinically collaborative approach that has helped the hospital achieve its remarkable results.

When treating and managing heart failure patients, the institute does the following:

A nurse rounds daily on all congestive heart failure patients to educate them about the disease and provide appropriate resources; and a cardiac nurse ensures a follow-up appointment has been scheduled within seven days after the patient is discharged.

Other steps include:

· Medication management: This is one of the most important components of the program. If the patient fails to take their medication, they are more likely to be readmitted within 30 days. So Tri-City Medical Center works very closely with the patient and their family to educate them regarding the importance of medication management.

· Follow-up appointments: Tri-City Medical Center does not allow patients to leave the hospital without an appointment to see a primary care doctor within seven days. If the patient does not have a primary care doctor or can’t afford one, hospital staff ensures they are seen through the institute’s clinic. And staff follows up to make sure the appointment has been kept.

· Once home, qualified patients participate in a 30-day Transition to Home Program. A nurse visits the patient at home and reinforces education and medication management. Some patients receive tele-monitoring equipment that allows clinicians to track their blood pressure, weight and heart rate.

Tri-City Medical Center has similar measures in place to follow-up with heart attack patients after they are discharged.

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