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Interior of heart
The interior of the heart is composed of valves, chambers, and associated vessels.

SEATTLE – (Aug. 23, 2016) — A successful pilot program designed to reduce hospital readmissions for Virginia Mason heart failure patients has received a two-year, $100,000 grant from the Cardinal Health Foundation.

The grant will help support the program through May 2018.

Called Heart to Heart, the initiative features pharmacist visits with patients in their homes. It was created in 2015 by Virginia Mason and Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group, an independent pharmacy in Seattle. Kelley-Ross pharmacists make house calls on patients with moderate-to-severe heart failure once a month for three months after they are discharged from Virginia Mason Hospital. 

Kelley-Ross pharmacists explain medications, answer questions, and help ensure these high-risk patients take their medications safely and as prescribed. These consultations are in addition to follow-up visits patients have with their care providers at the Virginia Mason Heart Failure Clinic.

During the program’s first year (June 2015 through May 2016), a total of 40 heart failure patients participated. Of those, only three were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days, for a readmission rate of 7.5 percent. This compares to a national readmission rate of nearly 25 percent.

“This program draws on best practices in medication management and expands our support for heart failure patients during the critical transition phase from the hospital or skilled nursing facility to their homes,” said Anne Casey, director, Virginia Mason Heart Institute. “Our work with Kelley-Ross is proving that hospital readmissions can be reduced when patients better understand when, why and how to take their medications.”

The goal is to expand the number of program participants to 100 during the next two years. The Cardinal Health Foundation grant will make it possible for patients treated and discharged from a skilled nursing facility to be added to the larger pilot group.

“We are thrilled with the results of this project and encouraged by its continued support with additional grant funding,” said Ryan Oftebro, CEO, Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group. “As pharmacists, we care deeply about making a difference in peoples’ lives and this program has proven to do just that.”

Heart failure, also called congestive heart failure, is the most common cause of hospitalization for individuals 65 years and older. Learn more about the condition.

Since 2008, the Cardinal Health Foundation has invested $8.6 million in hundreds of health care organizations through its E3 Patient Safety Grant Program. “We support a wide array of patient safety work, but the focus is always on accelerating the rate of change with two goals: Improved patient outcomes and reduced health care costs,” said Dianne Radigan, vice president of Community Relations at Cardinal Health.

About Virginia Mason Health System
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. In the Puget Sound region, the system includes 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 480 physicians; regional medical centers in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; 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, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others from around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management methodology for continually improving quality, safety and efficiency. Virginia Mason online:

Virginia Mason also includes Yakima-based Memorial Family of Services and Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, a 226-bed facility serving the Yakima Valley in Central Washington since 1950. Memorial Family of Services comprises primary care practices and specialty care services, including high quality cardiac care, a continuum of cancer care, hospice care, and advanced services for children with special health care needs. Memorial online:

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

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