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VMFH Center for Cardiovascular Health Receives Nation’s Highest Honors

June 7, 2024

STS Three-Star Rating is the highest designation possible

STS award cardiovascular providers

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health (VMFH) is pleased to announce The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) has awarded its three cardiovascular hospitals within VMFH, a prestigious three-star rating, the highest rating possible in cardiac surgery. The STS star rating system is one of the most sophisticated and highly regarded overall measures of quality in health care, and the latest analysis covers a three-year period. St. Joseph Medical Center received two distinguished three-star ratings; a three-star rating in isolated mitral valve repair and replacement (MVRR) surgery and a second three-star rating in isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) procedures. St. Michael Medical Center earned a prestigious three-star rating in isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) procedures. Virginia Mason Medical Center earned a prestigious three-star rating for its patient care and outcomes in aortic valve replacement combined with coronary artery bypass grafting (AVR + CABG).

“The Society for Thoracic Surgery (STS) is the gold standard for quality in health care and to perform at this level perennially is unprecedented,” said Keith Sprague, executive director for the Center for Cardiovascular Health at VMFH. “We are the only health system in Washington state to receive this designation for our cardiothoracic surgical programs at all three sites where we perform surgeries, and to achieve it in all three major components of cardiac surgery is remarkable.”

“Achieving a STS three-star award at each of our cardiovascular hospitals highlights our focus on excellence, safety, and collaboration across the region,” said Dr. Bob Moraca, medical director of Cardiac Surgery at VMFH. “Most importantly, it recognizes the daily diligent efforts of all the team members to provide the highest quality cardiac care in the country.”

STS is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for surgeries of the heart, lung, and esophagus, as well as other surgical procedures within the chest. STS’s mission is to enhance the ability of cardiothoracic surgeons to provide the highest quality patient care through education, research, and advocacy.

“A three-star rating means our team cares deeply about every detail," said Dr. Robert King, medical director of Cardiac Surgery for St. Michael Medical Center. "We hold ourselves and each other accountable on a daily basis, ensuring we provide the highest level of care possible to all patients."

The rating signifies that each of VMFH’s cardiac surgical programs have achieved quality outcomes in the top 10% nationally over the past three years.

VMFH STS cardiovascular awardees

“Very few cardiothoracic surgery programs across the country ever achieve multiple three-star ratings,” noted Dr. Gopi Dandamudi, executive medical director for the Center for Cardiovascular Health at VMFH. “To be awarded three stars in multiple categories, it means we are operating at the highest levels possible relative to programs across the United States. It’s an extraordinary result.”

Historically, approximately 4%-7% of participants receive the three-star rating for AVR+CABG surgery. 

“The Society of Thoracic Surgeons congratulates STS National Database participants who have received three-star ratings,” said Dr. David Shahian, chair of the Task Force on Quality Measurement. “Participation in the Database and public reporting demonstrates a commitment to quality improvement in health care delivery and provides patients and their families with meaningful information to help them make informed decisions about health care.”

The STS National Database was established as an initiative for quality improvement and patient safety among cardiothoracic surgeons in 1989.

“Consistently achieving multiple three-star ratings from the STS is difficult, and it reflects our team's intentional commitment to quality and our relentless pursuit of improvement, so that patients receive world class cardiac surgical care in our community, close to family, loved ones, and their social support system,” said Dr. Craig Hampton, medical director of Cardiac Surgery for St. Joseph Medical Center. “I am extremely proud of this work and feel privileged to be part of such an extraordinary team of dedicated professionals.”

STS award recipients - VMFH

About Virginia Mason Franciscan Health
Virginia Mason Franciscan Health (VMFH) is an integrated health system serving the Puget Sound region, including 10 hospitals and 300 care sites. Founded in 1891, VMFH embraces its long history of caring for the most vulnerable, especially the poor and underserved, and meeting the evolving health care needs of the vibrant, diverse communities it serves. VMFH is a proud home to the Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the United States designed specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS, and the Benaroya Research Institute, an internationally recognized institution for autoimmune disease research. VMFH is part of CommonSpirit, one of the nation’s largest health systems, dedicated to advancing health for all people.