Nebraska Heart Institute Heart Hospital Best in the State and Among Top 5% in Nation for Cardiac Services Outcomes

Nebraska Heart Contacts:
Tom Burnell : Chief Executive Officer
402.304.9555 |

Becca Eckert : Quality Improvement & Safety Team Leader
402.328.3645 |



Receives Specialty Excellence Awards from Leading Healthcare Independent Ratings Organization

Lincoln, NE (October 16, 2009) – A study issued on October 13, 2009 by HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings organization, finds that Nebraska Heart Institute Heart Hospital (NHH) is among the top five percent of hospitals in the nation for Overall Cardiac Care and Cardiology Services. NHH has been ranked #1 out of all Nebraska hospitals for five consecutive years in both Overall Cardiac Care and Cardiology Services.

Nebraska Heart Hospital has been recognized for clinical quality excellence for multiple years, demonstrating superior patient outcomes in multiple areas as noted in the HealthGrades Twelfth Annual Hospital Quality in America Study™, the largest annual quality study of its kind. The goal of the HealthGrades risk-adjusted objective hospital ratings is to help consumers make well-informed decisions about their health care choices. Every nonfederal hospital in the United States (nearly 5,000) was included in this study, which examined mortality rates and complication rates from government data from 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Nebraska Heart Hospital has received the following quality accolades:

• Recipient of the HealthGrades Cardiac Care Excellence Award™ for three years in a row and among the Top 5% in the nation for Overall Cardiac Care in 2010
• Recipient of the HealthGrades Coronary Interventional Excellence Award™ in 2010; ranked #1 in Nebraska and ranked among the Top 10% in the nation for Coronary Interventional Procedures
• Ranked #1 in Nebraska for Overall Cardiac Care for five years in a row
• Ranked among the Top 5% in the nation for Cardiology Services and #1 in Nebraska for three years in a row
• Ranked #1 in Vascular Surgery for four years in a row
• Received Five-Star ratings in Coronary Bypass Surgery, Coronary Interventional Procedures, Treatment of Heart Attack, Treatment of Heart Failure and Carotid Surgery multiple years in a row

‘Nebraska Heart has received numerous awards and national recognition for quality of care and patient satisfaction,” said Nebraska Heart CEO Tom Burnell. “Receiving recognition from HealthGrades as the number one cardiac and number one vascular program in the state of Nebraska is the pinnacle of a 30-year tradition.”

“At Nebraska Heart Hospital, the physicians and administrative leadership team are committed to integrity, excellence, respect, teamwork, leadership and passion,” said Becca Eckert, Quality Improvement and Safety Team Leader at Nebraska Heart. “These values practiced throughout the organization provide the foundation for quality patient care.”

After analyzing nearly 40 million Medicare hospitalization records, HealthGrades found that top-performing hospitals had dramatically lower mortality rates than other hospitals. For the 17 procedures and diagnoses for which HealthGrades analyzed mortality rates, patients at top hospitals had a 52 percent lower chance of dying when compared to the U.S. national average. If all hospitals performed at a 5-star level, potentially 224,537 Medicare deaths could have been avoided.

“Nebraska has excellent health care,” Burnell said. “For Nebraska Heart Hospital to be number one in the state in four major categories and in the top 5% in the nation for Cardiac Surgery, Cardiology Services and Overall Cardiac Care speaks volumes to the physicians and staff who provide care on par with the best in the country. Based on this recognition, the confidence and trust of our patients is well placed at Nebraska Heart.”

About HealthGrades Ratings
HealthGrades rates hospitals independently based on data that hospitals submit to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. No hospital can opt in or out of being rated, and no hospital pays to be rated.

For 28 procedures and treatments, HealthGrades issues star ratings that reflect the mortality and complication rates for each category of care. Hospitals receiving a 5-star rating have mortality or complication rates that are below the national average, to a statistically significant degree. A 3-star rating means the hospital performs as expected. One-star ratings indicate the hospital’s mortality or complication rates in that procedure or treatment are statistically higher than average. Because the risk profiles of patient populations at hospitals are not alike, HealthGrades risk-adjusts the data to allow for apples-to-apples comparisons.

More information on today’s HealthGrades study, including the complete methodology, can be found at

About Nebraska Heart Hospital
In 2003, Nebraska’s first heart-exclusive hospital, the Nebraska Heart Hospital, began providing patient care. The 63-bed, state-of-the-art facility provides patients and families throughout the region with leading-edge services delivered in a caring environment. NHH includes three operating suites, three cardiac catheterization labs and peripheral vascular and electrophysiology labs with comprehensive imaging services. The 26 physicians and more than 300 support staff work together in providing cardiac, vascular and thoracic care and will continue to influence and shape the future of health care through innovation, creativity and research.

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