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Medical Center's Digestive Disorders Care Highlighted

SEATTLE, Wash. - (July 13, 2007) - Virginia Mason Medical Center is one of the top 25 hospitals in the nation for digestive disorders care , according to U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of America's Best Hospitals. Virginia Mason is one of eight hospitals from the West Coast included in the elite rankings.

U.S. News & World Report ranks the nation's top medical centers out of a field of 5,462 centers and analyzes 16 specialties every year. The specialty categories include digestive disorders, cancer, geriatrics, and heart and heart surgery and represent hospital scores that assess quality, reputation, mortality ratios and care-related factors such as nursing and patient services. Only 173 medical centers were included in even a single specialty this year. 

Richard Kozarek, MD, Director of the Digestive Disease Institute at Virginia Mason said, "Delivering high-quality care for our patients is the focus of everything we do. Thanks to the incredible surgical advances in the area of digestive disease and important screening and diagnostics steps, we've increased our ability to help patients. We are honored to have patients from all over the world come here to receive care from our interdisciplinary medical team for gastrointestinal (GI) disorders."
Virginia Mason offers a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic gastroenterologic services, and has received world-wide attention because of excellent survival results for colon, esophageal and pancreatic cancer patients. Virginia Mason provides expertise in advanced techniques, such as endoscopic destruction of early esophageal cancer in high-risk patients, and unresectable biliary cancers, and electrogastrography and gastric pacemaker placement for refractory gastroparesis (or delayed stomach emptying). The clinical team utilizes a variety of investigational medications and procedures for severe reflux, inflammatory bowel disease and gut motility disorders.

The GI team at Virginia Mason is nationally recognized and known for a number of 'firsts' and awards in the field including:

  • Ranked No. 1 in Washington state in 2006 and 2007 for overall gastroenterological services and granted the Gastrointestinal Care Excellence Award by HealthGrades, a health care quality ratings organization. 

  • First in the Pacific Northwest to offer endoscopic ablation for bile duct and esophageal cancer (within a clinical setting).

  • First in the Pacific Northwest to offer double balloon enteroscopy to diagnose and treat bleeding lesions throughout the entire small bowel. This helps avoid the need for surgical treatment for most patients.

"This U.S. News & World Report ranking is terrific acknowledgment for our Team Medicine approach to care, which includes a multitude of treatment disciplines where physicians, nurses and other support staff work together to give each patient excellent care," said Dr. Kozarek. "Discussion of quality measurement and outcomes in health care continues to be an important part of what we do. Rankings like these take a broad discussion of medical outcomes and tie them to specific, measurable results."
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a not-for-profit comprehensive regional health care system that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 400 physicians with a 336-bed acute care Seattle hospital. In addition, Virginia Mason has a network of clinics located throughout the Puget Sound area, and manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and adult day health program for people living with HIV and AIDS. Virginia Mason also has an internationally recognized research center, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason.

Alisha Mark, Media Relations
(206) 341-1509

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