Nebraska Heart Hospital Celebrates Ten Years of Patient Care and Service to the Region

The Nebraska Heart Institute Heart Hospital is celebrating its ten-year anniversary.  The doors of the Hospital opened officially May 5, 2003 when patients began receiving care at Nebraska’s first heart hospital.  Throughout the last ten years, the Hospital has achieved many memorable milestones and has been awarded numerous accolades for quality patient care.

The Nebraska Heart Hospital has been one of the nation's premier cardiac and vascular facilities in the nation for the last ten years.

The Nebraska Heart Hospital has been one of the nation’s premier cardiac and vascular facilities in the nation for the last ten years.

Beginning in 2005, in only the second full-year of the Hospital being open, HealthGrades, a nationally recognized organization that provides ratings of hospitals and physicians across the country, awarded the Hospital for its excellence in patient outcomes.  During the last eight years, the Heart Hospital has been awarded five-star rankings in Cardiac Surgery, Vascular Surgery and Treatment of Heart Failure.  Additionally, according to HealthGrades, the Hospital is currently ranked in the top five percent nationally for Vascular Surgery, the top ten percent for Cardiac Surgery and Number one in the state for Overall Cardiac Services.

However, the Hospital is more than awards and recognition.  “It’s about the people who have cared for the thousands of patients and families who have visited the campus of Nebraska Heart,” says Sachi Mahapatra, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Nebraska Heart.  “Our staff is the definition of compassion and caring when it comes to patients.  From the moment we cared for our first patient, our thoughts weren’t on how good we are, but how well we can take care of the patient.  We were the ‘new kids on the block.’  We knew that the best way to demonstrate our abilities was to provide the best care possible to the patient.”

In November of that first year, the Hospital performed the first implantation nation-wide of a unique implantable cardioverter defibrillator that provided three essential therapies in a single device.  In 2004, the Hospital performed its first heart by-pass without general anesthetic on a patient from North Platte.  According to Joe Petty, MD, anesthesiologist, “With no pain, she was awake during the entire procedure and answering our questions.”  The Hospital continued to bring innovation to Lincoln and the region with procedures such as a closure for ventricular septal defect; minimally invasive

Today, the Nebraska Heart Hospital continues to be innovative as well as a destination for patients and providers from throughout the U.S. and across several continents.  An addition of bricks and mortar brought to Lincoln its first cardiac hybrid OR suite on the Hospital campus.  This innovative room allows collaborative efforts with surgery and cardiology to work as a team in providing innovative therapies to patients.  For instance, the heart valve team at NHH was the first in Nebraska to bring transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) to patients in December of 2011; with nearly 50 patients receiving this life-saving procedure to date.

Most recently, NHH was one of the first to offer the Lariat procedure – a less invasive method to close the left atrial appendage, thus reducing the chance of stroke and giving patients a hope of eliminating their blood thinning medicine.  John Wolter, an 84 year-old patient who was one of the first to receive the Lariat procedure exclaimed, “I was 100 percent behind it; it gives me peace of mind to know that it reduces your risk.”  These procedures are critical to our mission of taking care of patients,” says Steven Martin, MD, interventional cardiologist.  “We will continue to search for the best therapies and bring them to our patients as soon as possible.”

In 1967, Lincoln’s first cardiovascular surgery program was developed by Drs. Steven Carveth, Herb Reese and Walt Weaver.  These physicians were the early pioneers that helped to establish what we know today as the Nebraska Heart Institute and Heart Hospital.  Since then, Nebraska Heart has expanded to include 28 physicians and more than 400 support staff caring for patients from six offices and more than 40 outreach locations in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas.  Annually, the Heart Hospital performs more than 600 open-heart procedures, 1,500 interventions and more than 4,500 catheterizations.

The 63-bed, state-of-the-art Heart Hospital provides patients and families throughout the region with leading-edge services delivered in a caring environment.  Additionally, the Heart Hospital, with its innovative efficiencies, has been able to create value in terms of healthcare dollars.  “When you compare our charges against other institutions, our cost is lower in several therapeutic areas, thus saving patients and third-party payers significantly in reimbursement,” says Dan Schonlau, chief financial officer for Nebraska Heart.

“We certainly take pride in our accolades and recognition,” says Jamie Carlson, vice president of operations.  “However, it is the people who make the Heart Hospital the premier destination for heart and vascular care.  The compassion of our staff, the trust of our patients and the willingness of providers across the region, who place their patients into our hands, are who make Nebraska Heart.”

What does the future of healthcare hold?  At the Heart Hospital, it will be technology and innovation, but most of all, a place where patients do come first.

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