Quality Health Care Happens One Patient at a Time


U.S. News and World Report puts spotlight on Munson Medical Center specialties

Chris Shotwell is quick to voice his appreciation for the quality of heart care available close to his Traverse City home.

The 67-year-old retiree underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2012 and has been a faithful participant in cardiac rehabilitation efforts at Munson Community Health Center since then. Earlier this month, he had to return to the hospital for a procedure in the cardiac catheterization lab.

“I just recently had a couple of stents put in and found everybody quite satisfactory,” he said. “I have had a wonderful experience with their heart services in every way in terms of patient care and a general concern for the patient.”

Munson Medical Center enters 2017 with a national ranking from U.S. News and World Report for cardiology and heart surgery. The hospital also ranked fifth among hospitals in Michigan and was rated highly in four specialties and nine procedures.

The rankings for 2016-17, initially released in August, point to the hospital’s continued commitment to quality for the new year. Munson Medical Center President Al Pilong said the hospital approaches quality one patient at a time.

“Our mantra is that we keep the patient at the center of all we do,” he said. “This becomes reality when someone such as Mr. Shotwell comes to us in need. Our commitment to him and everyone who comes to us is safe and efficient care that leads to a positive outcome.”

The U.S. News analysis of hospitals includes data from nearly 5,000 centers across multiple clinical specialties, procedures and conditions. Scores are based on a variety of patient outcome and care-related factors, such as patient safety and nurse staffing. U.S. News ranks hospitals in 16 adult and 10 pediatric specialties. Hospitals also receive a rating in nine common procedures and conditions, including hip replacement and COPD.

“A hospital that emerged from our analysis as one of the best has much to be proud of,” said Ben Harder, chief of health analysis at U.S. News.

Munson Medical Center was ranked in the top 50 programs for cardiology and heart surgery in the U.S. Other programs in this group included Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and the University of Michigan. Webber Heart Center Medical Director Dino Recchia, M.D., FACC, said physicians and staff at the heart center offer cutting-edge technology coupled with Magnet nursing care.

“Whether a patient requires care from our teams in cardiac imaging, interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, heart failure, or cardiothoracic surgery, they will find highly qualified expert care with outcomes that compare well with nationally known hospitals,” he said. “Patient ratings of our strengths include quality of care, effectiveness of the health care team, and likelihood of recommending Munson Medical Center to others.”

In addition to its national ranking in cardiology and heart surgery, Munson Medical Center was characterized as “high performing” in four specialties: Diabetes and Endocrinology, Gastroenterology and GI Surgery, Geriatrics, and Pulmonology.

The publication ranked the hospital as “high performing” in nine procedures, including:
• Abdominal aneurysm repair 
• Aortic valve surgery
• COPD care
• Colon cancer surgery
• Heart bypass surgery
• Heart failure care
• Hip replacements
• Knee replacements
• Lung cancer surgery

“These rankings reflect our efforts to provide the communities we serve with high quality, safe patient care,” Pilong said. “We understand that in times of crisis and unexpected diagnoses our neighbors and friends in northern Michigan place their care in our hands. We take that trust extremely seriously as we continue our mission into this new year.”

With his new stents in place, Shotwell said he has returned to his three-day a week routine at Munson Community Health Center’s cardiac rehabilitation program. “The staff at MCHC seem very knowledgeable; they answer your questions and are good to get along with. I like the people, the camaraderie and the accountability. That accountability helps me a lot.”

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To learn more about hospital quality efforts.