James McCullough was so convinced he wouldn’t make it to his 50th wedding anniversary, he and his wife had a huge bash for their 40th.
The Vietnam veteran had been plagued by one heart problem after another; he blamed it on the Agent Orange he was exposed to during the war. First he underwent a triple bypass. Then he had an aortic valve replaced. When his heart failure was so bad his heart couldn’t pump enough blood for his body, he sought help at CHI Health Nebraska Heart.
“I literally couldn’t walk,” he said. “I was pretty well housebound and chairbound.”
He says Nebraska Heart saved his life. Dr. Sagar Damle implanted a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) while Cardiologist Dr. Gina Mentzer monitored McCullough. His nurses, Kelly Stutzman and Rachel Smith, became “like daughters.”
“I know full well that the only reason I’m here, the only reason I’m here for my wife and children today is because of Dr. Damle, Dr. Mentzer, Kelly and Rachel.”
McCullough and thousands of other heart patients have had the benefit of receiving first class care from Nebraska Heart. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) confirmed the excellent care when they rated Nebraska Heart a five star hospital.
“We are one of only 102 hospitals nationally to achieve this designation, placing us in the top two-point-two percent in the country,” said CHI Health Cardiologist Peter Dionisopoulos, also chief medical officer for Nebraska Heart. “It is truly a testament of our dedication and hard work that each of us provides superior cardiovascular care to our patients.”
Hospital Compare uses 64 measures – including safety, readmissions and patient experience – to help patients and families compare hospitals in their area side-by-side.
Only four hospitals in Nebraska received five stars.
In addition to having higher patient satisfaction scores, researchers found that hospitals with more stars on the Hospital Compare website have tended to have lower death and readmission rates.
Important facts about Nebraska Heart:
- There are 35 physicians. Twenty-four are cardiologists, seven are surgeons and four are anesthesiologists.
- Nebraska Heart has seven clinics with more than 60 outreach clinics throughout Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa.
- Doctors at Nebraska Heart perform more than 20,000 procedures a year.
- Nebraska Heart is rated in the 90th percentile for patient satisfaction.
- Leading-edge research is conducted at Nebraska Heart.
- While the national average (50th percentile) for door-to-device time for a heart attack patient is 49 minutes, the average time at Nebraska Heart is 22 minutes (Data source: National Cardiovascular Data Registry CathPCI)
No one has to show McCullough any numbers to convince him Nebraska Heart is a Five-Star hospital. His only challenge was figuring out a way to top his 40th wedding anniversary when he made it to his 50th recently!