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How The Best Get Better

COVID-19 changed us all in 2020. While it has been hard, we have learned a great deal and our Kaweah Health Heart and Vascular teams have never stopped caring for our community. Even in the midst of the pandemic, our affiliation with the Cleveland Clinic Heart, Vascular and Thoracic Institute, ranked #1 in the nation for heart care since 1995 by U.S. News & World Report, helped us further elevate services for people seeking cardiovascular care in the Central Valley.

Prior to our affiliation in 2019, we spent 34 years building a very strong and comprehensive cardiovascular program. The hard work and expertise of our cardiovascular and open-heart teams, which include expert cardiac surgeons, cardiologists, cardiac anesthesiologists, vascular surgeons, nurses, technicians and many other Kaweah Health staff members, have earned us national recognition in recent years.

In 2020, Healthgrades, a benchmarking and reporting healthcare organization created to help consumers make educated choices about their health providers, released a national study in which Kaweah Health was named among the top five percent of the nation’s hospitals and recognized as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals™ for Cardiac Surgery for four years in a row. Kaweah Health is just one of seven hospitals in California, and the only one in the Central Valley, to receive the distinction as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals™ for Cardiac Surgery. Additionally, Kaweah Health was a Five-Star Award Recipient for the treatment of heart failure, valve surgery, and coronary bypass – and for the fifth year in row, received a Cardiac Surgery Excellence Award. These honors, as well as others in various specialties, helped make Kaweah Health the most awarded hospital in the Central Valley.

This affiliation between Kaweah Health and the Cleveland Clinic is how the best get better. We are proud of the innovative ways we have worked together to expand our heart program and increase the quality of care for every patient, every time. While Kaweah Health and Cleveland Clinic cardiovascular programs work closely together, our organizations, physicians, and staff remain independent and unchanged.

As an affiliate, Kaweah Health has access to best practices that have helped the Cleveland Clinic’s heart program achieve U.S. News & World Report’s No. 1 cardiology and heart surgery ranking for the past 26 years in a row. Also as affiliates, Kaweah Health and Cleveland Clinic’s heart programs share best practices in patient care, outcomes measurement, quality reporting, and clinical research – and physician teams from both entities collaborate to accelerate advances in heart care treatments and protocols.

Other proud advancements include the implementation of same-day discharge (SDD) after elective cardiac stent placement, which decreases the length of time patients need to stay in the hospital after their procedure. If a patient is a candidate for SDD, they are able to go home in just six hours after their procedure. Our physicians have really embraced this process but our patients are the happiest of all, knowing they’ll be going home to sleep in their own bed on the night of their procedure.

Same-day discharge is made possible, in part, by the use of radial artery access (entering through the wrist) for cardiac catheterization. Patients who have had an angiogram or angioplasty using the femoral approach (entering through the groin) are very familiar with lying flat in bed for what may have seemed like an exorbitant amount of time, but patients who have had the same procedure using the radial approach have a very different experience. They are allowed to sit up, move around, and even walk immediately after the procedure. Sitting up immediately post procedure is ideal for patients with disease processes such as congestive heart failure, back pain, and/or dementia. Studies have shown that patients prefer radial access to femoral access because it is much more comfortable and, as a result, our patient satisfaction rates have significantly increased, along with the number of physicians who have adopted the practice.

The awards, success, and growth of the Kaweah Health Heart and Vascular Institute is reflective of the passion, commitment, and excellence in heart care our team has delivered to Central Valley residents for more than three decades. Our collaboration with Cleveland Clinic, a proven top national performer has accelerated our progress toward becoming a world-class heart program that benefits people throughout the region and state. On our journey to world-class care, we are reaching new heights in heart care and raising patient satisfaction levels as we make our way to the very top.