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VM Places in the Top 25 Hospitals Nationwide for Digestive Disorders

SEATTLE, Wash. – (July 7, 2006) – U.S. News & World Report ranked Virginia Mason Medical Center as one of the top 25 hospitals in the nation for digestive disorders care in its July “America’s Best Hospitals” issue. Virginia Mason is one of nine hospitals from the West Coast to receive such recognition.

U.S. News & World Report ranks the nation’s top medical centers in 16 specialties every year. The specialty ranking categories include digestive disorders, cancer, geriatrics, heart and heart surgery, and kidney disease. These scores represent an assessment of quality, reputation, mortality ratios and care-related factors such as nursing and patient services. Only 176 medical centers were ranked in even a single specialty this year out of all 5,189 U.S. medical centers.

Richard Kozarek, MD, Director of the Digestive Disease Institute at Virginia Mason said, “Patients come from all over the world to receive care from our interdisciplinary medical team for gastroenterology (GI) disorders and we take great pride in this recognition. Pancreatic cancer, screening for polyps or cancer with colonoscopy, therapeutic endoscopic cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), occult GI bleeding and inflammatory bowel disease — no matter what the disease challenge is, we’re focused on providing sterling care for our patients.”

Offering a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic gastroenterologic services, Virginia Mason has received world-wide attention because of excellent survival results for colon, esophageal and pancreatic cancer patients. Virginia Mason provides expertise in life-saving techniques such as photodynamic therapy for unresectable biliary cancers and esophageal cancer in high risk patients, and electrogastrography and gastric pacemaker placement for refractory gastroparesis (or delayed stomach emptying). The team utilizes a large 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 including:
  • Ranked number one in Washington in 2005 and 2006 for overall gastroenterological services and medical services by HealthGrades, a health care quality ratings organization.
  • First in the Pacific Northwest to offer photodynamic therapy for bile duct and esophageal cancer *
  • First in the Pacific Northwest to offer double balloon enteroscopy to diagnose and treat bleeding lesions throughout the entire small bowel. This helps most patients avoid the need for surgical diagnosis and treatment.
  • Dr. Richard Kozarek, Director of the Digestive Disease Institute, received the 2005 American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy’s Rudolph Schindler Award, the highest U.S. endoscopic award recognizing a lifetime achievement in endoscopic research, practice and service.
“This U.S. News & World Report ranking is terrific acknowledgment for an incredible team of GI physicians, our colleagues in general and thoracic surgery, interventional radiology in a multitude of disciplines, nurses and support staff who all work together to give each patient the highest quality care,” said Dr. Kozarek. “We’ve been working hard to incorporate the latest research and treatment offerings to provide every possible choice for our patients. Each team member focuses on the patient to provide very individualized care. I am very proud to be a part of such a great team.”

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.

* within a clinical setting

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