The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) awarded St. Mark's Hospital a distinguished three-star rating for the third time in a row – and no other Utah facility can make this claim! Known for their strict criteria and rating system, STS examines the quality, outcomes, teamwork and patient care during specific cardiovascular procedures using one of the most sophisticated and highly regarded measuring systems in healthcare. The three-star rating recognizes St. Mark’s as among the best of the best in the United States.
This year, St. Mark’s received three stars for aortic valve replacement combined with coronary artery bypass grafting (AVR + CABG) and mitral valve replacement and repair (MVRR) surgeries. Last year, the three stars accompanied isolated AVR procedures. Plus, St. Mark’s has received three stars in the MVRR + CABG category before as well.
“These stars are rolling outcomes, so it’s not like you earn a certain star rating and it’s yours forever – it’s an ongoing process. We’re constantly being evaluated, just like we’re constantly striving to improve our efforts and efficiency,” explained Dr. David Affleck, thoracic and cardiac surgeon at St. Mark’s.
St. Mark’s consistent three-star recognition demonstrates its consistent, top-quality heart care. So far, St. Mark’s is the only facility in the Intermountain Region to receive three stars in both AVR + CABG and MVRR.
“This validates to patients that their chances of surviving heart surgery are the highest at our facility, compared with everywhere else in the region,” Dr. Affleck said. “I think this gives our patients peace of mind and confidence that they’ll receive the best heart care possible, here at St. Mark’s.”
To achieve three-star status, the STS reviews many specific clinical outcomes, including length of stay, mortality, infection rates, intubation rates, renal failure and more. It also evaluates infrastructure/teamwork, preoperative preparation and intraoperative management as well as postoperative and post-discharge care.
Only the top 10 percent of cardiovascular surgery facilities receive three stars; while 80 percent of the nation’s facilities receive two stars, and the lowest 10 percent receive a single star.
“What’s incredibly impressive is the competitiveness for three stars. The margin of error must be extraordinarily low. One error and a facility can drop far and fast. You have to really do well to receive three stars. The cream has definitely risen to the top,” said John Cooper, Vice President of Cardiovascular Services at St. Mark’s.
Even with this top honor, cardiovascular surgeons at St. Mark’s continue to advance their skill and care. Within the last year, the team significantly increased their use of minimally invasive valves. They also have the highest rates in the nation for removing endotracheal tubes (ET tubes) after procedures within operating rooms, thus minimizing common complication rates. Plus, they plan to take complex cardiovascular procedures to the next level by training for robot-assisted surgeries.
“Our surgeons have done and continue to do a remarkable job,” John said. “For our informed consumers who look at which facilities have the best surgical rates, these three stars are a big deal. The quality within St. Mark’s cardiovascular services is almost as high as it gets. Our patients can be assured that if they’re going to St. Mark’s, they’re in really good hands.”