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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Pneumonia:Houston VAs Health Care Rated Top Nationwide

July 28, 2005

Heart Attack, Heart Failure, Pneumonia:

Houston VA’s Health Care Rated Top Nationwide

HOUSTON - According to a 2005 Quality Check report from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the health care the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center (MEDVAMC) provides in three critical medical areas ranks among the very best nationwide. The report found MEDVAMC performance in caring for patients with heart attacks, heart failure, and pneumonia was above most nationwide and statewide Joint Commission-accredited organizations.

"The goals set by the Joint Commission outline optimal care for treating patients for these three medical conditions. These ailments are the most common reasons patients go to the hospital and they affect hundreds of thousands of patients each year. We understand patients who are treated according to the guidelines set by JCAHO are more likely to improve and have good outcomes of care. With this in mind, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center continually strives to offer the highest quality of health care possible to our veterans," said Blase A. Carabello, M.D., MEDVAMC Medical Care Line executive.

The Joint Commission evaluates and accredits more than 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, not-for-profit organization, the Joint Commission is the nation's predominant standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Since 1951, the Joint Commission has maintained state-of-the-art standards that focus on improving the quality and safety of care provided by health care organizations. The Joint Commission's comprehensive accreditation process evaluates an organization's compliance with these standards and other accreditation requirements.

The researchers compiling this report looked at how often hospitals said they complied with 10 basic treatments in their care of heart attack, pneumonia, and heart failure patients. Those include administering aspirin and so-called "beta blockers," which lower blood pressure, to heart attack patients; checking the left ventricular function of heart-failure patients; and giving pneumonia patients a dose of antibiotics within four hours of arrival at the hospital. Quality Check is one source of accreditation and comparison information that a person can use to determine whether a health care organization will meet his or her needs.

Awarded Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services in 2004, the MEDVAMC serves as the primary health care provider for more than 137,000 veterans in southeast Texas. Veterans can rest assured MEDVAMC health care providers are working together to provide the very best health care available anywhere.