Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines Selected for American College of Cardiology Patient Navigator Program

Cardiology program designed to support heart failure patients, reduce hospital readmissions

March 2, 2015

DES MOINES, IOWA – March 2 —Mercy Medical Center –Des Moines is one of 35 hospitals in the country selected to participate in the American College of Cardiology Patient Navigator Program, the first program of its kind in cardiology designed to support hospitals in providing personalized services to heart disease patients and help them avoid a quick return to the hospital.

“We are honored to be among the 35 sites selected,” said Mark Tannenbaum, M.D., Chief Physician Officer, Iowa Heart Center. “We’ve already established many of our own initiatives to reduce hospital readmissions and our participation in the ACC program will provide the opportunity to network with others to further develop quality improvement strategies and best practices that can be applied not only locally, but nationally to improve patient care.”

Nearly one in five patients hospitalized with heart attack and one in four patients hospitalized with heart failure are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, often for conditions seemingly unrelated to the original diagnosis. Readmissions can be related to issues like stresses within the hospital, fragility on discharge, lack of understanding of discharge instructions and inability to carry out discharge instructions.

“Iowa Heart and Mercy have a multidisciplinary team focused on disease and medication education, care transitions and coordinated follow-up,” said Dr. Tannenbaum. “Collaboration with community hospitals, primary care, skilled care facilities, home health, and cardiac rehabilitation programs are key to the success of our efforts and the health of our patients.”

The ACC created the Patient Navigator Program to support a team of caregivers at selected hospitals to help patients overcome challenges during their hospital stay and in the weeks following discharge when they are most vulnerable. Hospitals chosen were given funding to establish a program that supports a culture of patient-centered care that can be implemented in other hospitals in the future. AstraZeneca is the founding sponsor of the ACC Patient Navigator Program.

“The ACC Patient Navigator Program provides evidence-based approaches to reducing hospital readmissions by meeting the unique needs of each patient,” said ACC President Patrick O’Gara, M.D., FACC. “Mercy and Iowa Heart Center’s dedication to quality is a key component of this program, which emphasizes a team approach to help patients make a seamless and secure transition from the hospital to the home.”

Hospitals in the program were selected based on their commitment to quality as demonstrated through participation in the National Cardiovascular Data Registry ACTION Registry-GWTG and Hospital to Home Initiative. Nearly 400 hospitals were eligible for the program, with only 35 ultimately selected based on readmission rates, having recognized leaders in cardiology on staff, an established culture of quality already part of the hospital infrastructure and varied geographic location.

Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines

Mercy operates two hospital campuses, along with more than 20 additional facilities that house more than 50 primary care, pediatric, internal medicine and specialty clinics. Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines is an 802-bed acute care, not-for-profit Catholic hospital founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1893. Mercy is the longest continually operating hospital in Des Moines and is also one of the largest employers in the state – with more than 7,000 employees and a medical staff of more than 1,000 physicians and allied health associates. Mercy Medical Center–Des Moines is a member of Mercy Health Network and is a part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national nonprofit health organization with headquarters in Englewood, Colo. The faith-based system operates in 19 states and includes 105 hospitals and multiple other facilities and services.

American College of Cardiology

The American College of Cardiologyis a 47,000-member medical society that is the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team. The mission of the College is to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health. The ACC leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College operates national registries to measure and improve care, provides professional medical education, promotes cardiovascular research and bestows credentials on cardiovascular specialists who meet stringent qualifications. For more information, visit

About Iowa Heart Center

Iowa Heart Center, founded in 1970, is one of the nation’s premier cardiovascular medicine practices. With clinics and offices in Des Moines, Ames, Ankeny, Carroll, Fort Dodge, Marshalltown, Newton, and Ottumwa, Iowa Heart Center’s physicians and staff are committed to providing world-class heart care, research and prevention services to Iowa families.