Date: 9/10/2007

Community Hospital and St. Catherine get good marks for treating heart failure

Community Hospital in Munster and St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago are among the top three hospitals in Indiana for treating heart failure and two of only 38 hospitals in the nation noted by the government for achieving the lowest 30-day mortality. This is according to a study by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart has weakened and has difficulty pumping blood in the body. While there is no cure, patients can live well with this disease with follow-up care, medication, support and education. Much of this care is provided by the hospitals on an outpatient basis.

CMS studied 4,500 U.S. hospitals’ mortality rates of patients who were treated for heart attack or heart failure after 30 days, beginning at the time of hospital admission. The study ranked hospitals as “better than U.S. national rate,” “no different than U.S. national rate” or “worse than U.S. national rate.”

Both Community Hospital and St. Catherine Hospital have a 30-day mortality rating that is significantly lower than the national average placing them both in the “better” category.

“Heart failure patients are some of the sickest we treat,” says Rosemary Wasielewski, regional director, cardiac rehabilitation and ambulatory clinics. “Many professionals from multiple healthcare disciplines contributed to the success of our low mortality ratings — from the nursing staff, the heart failure coordinators to the patients’ physicians and the programs’ medical directors.”

Community Hospital and St. Catherine Hospital follow evidence-based guidelines that have proven to provide the best outcomes. But connecting with each patient on a personal level also had a major impact on the patient’s health and quality of life after discharge, Wasielewski says.

“A great deal of the credit goes to the staff knowing how to meet the individual needs of patients and provide the important support and medical intervention patients need to maintain their health,” Wasielewski says.

CMS has provided information about 30-day mortality rates after hospitalization for heart attack or heart failure at The site uses 22 quality measures to compare hospitals for treatment of heart failure, heart attacks, surgical infection and pneumonia.