SFH Cardiology and United Health Press Release 
Thursday, 26 August 2004 

National designation recognizes

quality cardiac care



Memphis, TN – August 23, 2004 – Saint Francis Hospital announced today that it has been designated a UnitedHealth Premium cardiac specialty center, reflecting national recognition of the cardiac care it provides.


“We are honored to receive this designation, which offers further evidence of the high standard of care we are proud to deliver every day,” said David L. Archer, CEO.  “We are very pleased to measure favorably against nationally recognized benchmarks for the outstanding cardiac care we provide to our patients.”


The UnitedHealth Premium cardiac specialty centers program identifies hospitals nationwide that are leaders in providing cardiac care.  Select hospitals in the UnitedHealthcare network are invited to apply for designation.


“Patients who require cardiac care need to know that they are getting quality treatment,” said Lewis Sandy, M.D., an internist and executive vice president of clinical strategies at UnitedHealthcare.  “Our goal is to enhance the overall quality of care for our customers and enrollees.  The UnitedHealth Premium designation signals to all consumers that Saint Francis Hospital meets or exceeds nationally recognized standards of care.”


Saint Francis Hospital Cardiac Care Center offers comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services including inpatient, outpatient, non-invasive, open-heart surgery and the Chest Pain Emergency Center.

Criteria for selecting UnitedHealth Premium cardiac specialty centers were developed with input from a panel of leading independent cardiology experts and based on published guidelines set by the American College of Cardiology, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology, and Leapfrog Group, a coalition of more than 150 public and private organizations that provide health care benefits.


“The UnitedHealth Premium program evaluates and recognizes specific hospital and physician capabilities,” said Dr. Sandy.  “These capabilities include their quality processes, adherence to evidence-based approaches, compliance with nationally recognized guidelines published by clinical societies, and their broad capabilities to handle cardiac illness and its treatment through a continuum of stages.”


Among the program’s criteria:


  • Staff Experience – The facility must have staff who have performed a minimum number of cardiac surgeries and invasive cardiology procedures during the past year.


  • Breadth of Care – The facility must have proven experience in serving a broad range of cardiac specialties, including diagnostic procedures, cardiac surgeries, interventional procedures, and diagnosis and treatment for irregular heart rhythms.


  • Depth of Care – The facility must have a record of performing a minimum number of cardiac procedures annually, including open-heart surgeries, and pacemaker and defibrillator implantations.


  • Emergency Care – Emergency care cardiology staff must be in-house or on-call and available within a designated time.  The hospital must also track the timeliness of emergency care.


  • Data Management and Reporting – The hospital must be able to track and report figures for mortality and morbidity for interventional procedures, as well as the number of procedures performed.


The UnitedHealth Premium program will conduct an annual review of Saint Francis Hospital’s performance against the independently created criteria.


“Consistently measuring up to each of these standards requires a fundamental commitment to excellence in cardiac care as well as to outstanding delivery of service to patients,” said Ed Jutt, Vice President for Cardiac Services.  “We look forward to continuing to demonstrate our commitment.”