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The Heart Center at Holmes Regional Medical Center receives statewide Quality of Care Award

MELBOURNE, FL - As the search for ways to control healthcare spending and rising costs of health care reaches critical importance, one of the areas receiving the greatest focus has been reducing hospital readmission rates. These are patients who return to a hospital needing further care related to a prior procedure.

Today, the Florida Hospital Association (FHA) announced that The Heart Center at Holmes Regional Medical Center, part of Health First's family, surpassed all other hospitals in the state of Florida in reducing readmission rates for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) patients.

The 2011 FHA Celebration of Quality & Service Award awarded to The Heart Center at Holmes is based on official readmission information provided by the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA) as part of FHA's "Collaborative to Reduce Avoidable Readmissions" initiative.

Statewide, general readmission rates have dropped approximately 11 percent over the past two years. The Heart Center at Holmes' CABG readmission rates dropped a dramatic 52 percent, representing a significant reduction in healthcare costs and a major increase in quality outcomes for CABG patients.

"Holmes Regional Medical Center has been an active participant in the FHA readmission collaborative from day one, and committed a great deal of time and effort to improving their heart surgery patients' discharge process and transitional care," says Dr. James Palermo, Vice President/Chief Medical Officer and Chief Quality Officer at Health First.

"We're extremely proud that our Holmes team had the greatest improvement in readmission rates for CABG patients of all hospitals in the collaborative, and are honored to receive the FHA 2011 Celebration of Quality and Service Award."

According to the FHA, reducing avoidable hospital readmissions represents an opportunity to improve quality, increase patient satisfaction, and lower healthcare costs.