Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Houston VA's Surgical Intensive Care Unit Mortality Rate Drops for Second Straight Year

March 8, 2007

HOUSTON - The Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center (MEDVAMC) received recognition from the Department of Veterans Affairs Inpatient Evaluation Center (IPEC) for having a significantly low standardized mortality rate (SMR) in its Surgical Intensive Care unit for fiscal years 2005 and 2006.

The IPEC is a national program to improve outcomes in VA intensive care units across the country, and eventually, in inpatient care through feedback of outcomes and implementation of evidenced-based practices. The program is supported by VA National Leadership including the Department of Veterans Affairs Undersecretary for Health and by VISN executive leadership.

This program measures risk adjusted mortality and length of stay at all intensive care units, reporting aggregated identified results by type of intensive care unit and by level of complexity of care. The reports characterize intensive care unit performance compared to “average” and “best” performers for risk adjusted mortality and intensive care unit length of stay. Through implementation and measurement of best practices, VA’s goal is to reduce rolling risk adjusted mortality and length of stay.  

The MEDVAMC Surgical Intensive Care Unit had a significantly low SMR for 2005 and 2006. In 2005 with 1,016 admissions to the MEDVAMC, the SMR was 0.7 compared to a national average of 0.9.  In 2006 with 1,181 admissions, the SMR was 0.6 with a national average of 0.7.  The most common diagnoses were coronary artery disease, renal disease, peripheral vascular disease, and abdominal aortic aneurysm.

“Implementation of evidence-based protocols, teamwork, and a commitment to excellent patient care has been the key to achieving these results. This is especially important for our veterans and their family members when you examine the average age of our patient population, their significant comorbidities, and the significant increase in admissions during this timeframe,” said Samir S. Awad, M.D., Operative Care Line associate executive for Clinical Affairs and Surgical Intensive Care Unit medical director.

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