SOURCE: Lumetra

February 10, 2006 19:13 ET

Healthcare Nonprofit Lumetra Celebrates Hospitals With Heart

California Hospitals Show Improvement in Treating Cardiac Problems

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- February 10, 2006 -- In honor of National Heart Month, Lumetra, a nonprofit, independent healthcare organization, today announced improvements by California hospitals and healthcare providers in the treatment of heart attacks and heart failure.

"Californians are receiving a Valentine of substance this year from hospitals around the state," said Jo Ellen H. Ross, president and CEO, Lumetra. "Improving care means the right person receives the right care, every time, and I'm proud to see so many of California's hospitals committed to making these improvements related to heart problems."

Of the 20 quality of care measures currently being publicly reported on Hospital Compare, California hospitals are performing better than the national average on seven measures -- four related to heart attack care, two related to heart failure care, and one related to the care received by persons with pneumonia. Consumers can see a full year of hospital performance data for more than 330 California hospitals currently listed on Hospital Compare (www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov). The online resource was developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Hospital Quality Alliance, a public-private collaboration, to help consumers get important information about the quality of hospital care. Hospital performance data is updated quarterly -- the next update is slated to occur March 16, 2006.

As part of a contract with CMS, Lumetra works with hospitals throughout California to improve systems of care, with a focus on prevention and treatments for conditions that affect large numbers of patients. Over the last three years, Lumetra supported California hospital initiatives that resulted in:

--  1,058 more heart attack patients receiving a beta-blocker prescription
    upon discharge from the hospital. Beta-blockers are a type of medicine used
    to lower blood pressure, treat chest pain and heart failure, and help
    prevent a heart attack; and
    
--  3,465 more heart failure patients receiving a left ventricular
    function assessment, a test to check if a heart is pumping properly.
    
Currently, Lumetra is working with more than 12 percent of California's hospitals on a 14-month intensive, collaborative project to improve the process of care and treatment for patients experiencing heart failure, heart attack, and pneumonia. Participating hospital teams will share and implement successful tools and strategies for the consistent delivery of evidence-based appropriate care.

In addition, Lumetra is a partner with the American Heart Association's (AHA's) Get With The Guidelines program and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's (IHI's) 100k Lives Campaign.

"Lumetra's participation in the 100k Lives Campaign and the Get With The Guidelines program builds on the work we've been doing to improve healthcare protocols, such as our Surgical Infection Prevention Collaborative, which has already shown significant improvements," said Terry Hill, MD, Lumetra's senior medical director for quality improvement. "We're committed to continuing our work with partners such as the American Heart Association, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and Medicare to not only improve the quality of care for the treatment of heart attacks and heart failure, but to help prevent them in the future."

Get With The Guidelines is an acute care hospital-based program that helps manage risk factors in coronary artery disease patients. Lumetra supports monthly statewide Web conferences and promotes workshops for hospitals interested in improving heart care. The February 16 Web conference will feature Kristine Batten MD, FACC, medical director of the Women's Heart Program, John Muir Women's Health Center in Walnut Creek, California, and will focus on the AHA's Go Red campaign to raise awareness of risk factors related to heart disease in women. Hospitals interested in participating are encouraged to contact Suzanne Wiseman with the American Heart Association at (650) 259-6736.

In support of IHI's 100k Lives Campaign, Lumetra serves as the California Node coordinating other key healthcare partners to encourage and support hospital participation in this global health initiative to improve patient care and, ultimately, save lives. Over 18 months, the campaign aims to prevent 100,000 deaths through a reinvigorated commitment to consistency in clinically-proven lifesaving interventions performed appropriately and effectively in every situation, every time. Currently, 61 percent (210) of California hospitals are participating in the campaign.

Note to Editors:

Lumetra is a San Francisco-based, independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality, safety, and integrity of healthcare for providers and consumers. Lumetra provides innovative services and solutions in the areas of medical review, quality improvement, data analysis, and fraud detection and prevention. Since 1984, Lumetra has been contracted by CMS to be the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) for California. For more information, please visit www.lumetra.com.

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