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SEATTLE – (Nov. 20, 2015) – Virginia Mason is using a $25,000 grant from the Cardinal Health Foundation to support a pilot program designed to reduce hospital readmissions among patients diagnosed with heart failure.

For the “Heart to Heart” program, Virginia Mason has partnered with Kelley-Ross, a leading independent pharmacy in Seattle. Kelley-Ross pharmacists call and visit the homes of patients with moderate to severe heart failure once a month for three months after they are discharged from the hospital. The pharmacists explain medications and ensure individuals follow their medication schedules. Kelley-Ross pharmacists also make notes of these conversations and home visits in the Virginia Mason electronic medical record, which is viewed by the patients’ cardiologists and other care team members. Home visits by Kelley-Ross pharmacists are in addition to the patients’ follow-up calls from, and office visits with, providers at the Virginia Mason Heart Failure Clinic.

 “This project draws on best practices in medication management and helps support our patients during the critical transition phase from the hospital to their home,” said Anne Casey, director, Virginia Mason Heart Institute.

During its pilot year the program will support 50 heart failure patients who are taking five or more chronic-condition medications and strive to reduce hospital readmissions among these patients by half. The current readmission rate for heart failure patients at Virginia Mason is 22 percent, compared to the national average of about 24 percent. If successful, the goal is to integrate the Heart to Heart program into the hospital’s standard post-discharge care for heart failure patients.

Heart failure, which cannot be cured but can be managed with proper medications and medical supervision, is the most common cause of hospitalization among individuals age 65 and older, according to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Virginia Mason is among provider organizations in 18 states to receive funding from the Cardinal Health E3 Grant Program in 2015.

In 2013, Virginia Mason received $29,529 from the Cardinal Health Foundation to support patient safety initiatives in the hospital’s operating rooms.

“On behalf of Cardinal Health, we are so pleased to continue offering grants to organizations such as Virginia Mason as they work to implement best practices and improve the effectiveness, excellence and efficiency of patient care,” said Dianne Radigan, vice president, Community Relations, Cardinal Health. “The result is medical excellence and the best patient outcomes at a more affordable price.”

About Virginia Mason Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. Virginia Mason employs approximately 6,000 people and includes a 336-bed acute-care hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 480 physicians; regional medical centers throughout the Puget Sound area; and Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS. Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason is internationally recognized for its breakthrough autoimmune disease research. Using the Virginia Mason Production System management methodology, Virginia Mason is an international leader in applying lean manufacturing principles to health care delivery to eliminate waste, lower cost, and improve quality and patient safety. Virginia Mason website:

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Media Contact: Gale Robinette Virginia Mason Media Relations (206) 341-1509

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