AAMC hopes to bring cardiac program to Anne Arundel County

| March 4, 2015 | 1 Comment

Anne Arundel Medical CenterAnne Arundel Medical Center is working to bring a cardiac surgery, or heart surgery, program to Anne Arundel County, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Medicine. As it stands, Anne Arundel County is the largest county in Maryland (population 550,000-plus) without a cardiac surgery program. 

Today, AAMC filed a Certificate of Need application with the Maryland Health Care Commission to gain approval to develop a cardiac surgery program. The commission must grant approval of the application before cardiac surgery is available to the community served by AAMC.

“Anne Arundel Medical Center is nationally recognized in heart care. Our experts perform thousands of cardiac-related procedures every year,” says Jerome Segal, MD, medical director of the Heart Institute at AAMC. “We offer a wide range of quality heart services, from prevention and diagnosis of heart disease to interventional cardiology procedures and rehabilitation. The missing link is heart surgery.”

The Heart and Vascular Institute at AAMC saw 20,000 patients in fiscal year 2014. In addition, the hospital performed more than 1,000 cardiac catheterizations and 500 electrophysiology procedures.

Building on an eight-year relationship with Johns Hopkins Medicine, AAMC will collaborate with Johns Hopkins’ Division of Cardiac Surgery to bring renowned cardiac surgeons to AAMC to establish its program. Johns Hopkins cardiac surgeons will bring expertise in traditional open-heart surgery and in the latest innovations in minimally invasive valve repair and replacement surgery.

“The goal of our long-standing collaboration with Anne Arundel Medical Center is to provide the best possible care to the people of Anne Arundel County,” says Brian Gragnolati, senior vice president of the Johns Hopkins Health System. “We look forward to expanding that relationship by bringing Johns Hopkins cardiac surgeons to the region.”

Hundreds of patients have to be transferred from AAMC to other hospitals for heart surgery. Offering heart surgery at AAMC improves access to cardiac care for residents of Anne Arundel County and Eastern Shore counties served by the health system. It would lessen the time spent traveling significant distances for cardiac surgery and the stress of being transferred to another hospital after care is initiated at AAMC.

A cardiac surgery program at AAMC will also allow cardiologists and cardiac surgeons to work as a team to make the best decisions for patients. This provides a more seamless experience for patients and their families, less disruption, and the best possible outcomes. Having a full range of heart care services available through one team, at one facility that is located within a safe travel time, helps AAMC improve the health of the population it serves and improve the patient experience.

“Bringing a quality cardiac surgery program to Anne Arundel Medical Center has been part of our long-term strategic plan for years,” says Paula Widerlite, chief strategy officer at AAMC. “It is a logical step in providing comprehensive heart care services for a large portion of our community that already finds the vast majority of its healthcare needs met by AAMC. Our proposal is for a cost-effective, high-quality cardiac surgery program that emphasizes AAMC’s disease prevention and outreach programs, as well as the research and training that is a hallmark of Johns Hopkins Medicine.”

The last cardiac surgery program to open in our region was in 1994 in Baltimore. Meanwhile, Anne Arundel County outpaces the nation when it comes to the prevalence of heart disease and death due to heart disease. AAMC is committed to reducing the rate of heart disease in the community and has developed programs to address preventable risk factors, such as high blood pressure, obesity, tobacco use and diabetes. The health system invested more than $8 million in disease prevention and outreach activities during fiscal year 2013 and fiscal year 2014.

AAMC was recently awarded an advanced level of accreditation as a Cycle IV Chest Pain Center with PCI (percutaneous coronary intervention, or angioplasty), recognizing the medical center for its continued dedication to quick and efficient treatment of heart attack patients. For more information on AAMC’s heart and vascular services, visit www.AAHS.org/heart.

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