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Montefiore Selected to Participate in Program to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care

Program Will Identify and Implement Real-World Solutions to Gaps in Cardiac Care

Montefiore Medical Center Chosen from More Than 120 Applicants Nationwide

New York City, NY (October 17, 2005) — Montefiore Medical Center has been selected as one of only 10 hospitals nationwide to participate in Expecting Success: Excellence in Cardiac Care, a new national program aimed at reducing racial and ethnic gaps in the delivery of cardiac care.

Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and coordinated by The George Washington University Medical Center School of Public Health and Health Services, the Expecting Success program aims to develop and test potential solutions to well-documented racial and ethnic disparities in health care delivery. Though the Foundation has long been involved in spearheading and funding research aimed at documenting such disparities, the introduction of Expecting Success marks a significant shift toward identifying specific solutions.

"We are very excited to work with these hospitals toward the goal of providing high-quality care for all Americans. For years, research has shown that patients from certain racial or ethnic backgrounds are more likely to receive lower-quality care. We are not interested in placing the blame for these unacceptable gaps at anyone's door. What we most want to do is find partners, like these 10 hospitals, to help us work toward solutions," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

More than 120 hospitals and health systems in the U.S. applied to be pilot sites for the Expecting Success program. The 10 hospitals selected to participate — Del Sol Medical Center (El Paso, TX), Delta Regional Medical Center (Greenville, MS), Duke University Hospital (Durham, NC), Memorial Healthcare System (Hollywood, FL), Montefiore Medical Center (New York, NY), Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center (Chicago, IL), Sinai-Grace Hospital (Detroit, MI), University Health System (San Antonio, TX), University of Mississippi Medical Center (Jackson, MS), and Washington Hospital Center (Washington, DC) — all have large minority patient populations, treat many cardiac patients, and share a proven ability to design programs to develop and test best practices to reduce disparities in cardiac care. They represent a mix of urban and rural facilities, as well as community and teaching institutions.

Together, the facilities will participate in a collaborative "learning network" to test new ideas, quantify results, and share lessons learned. Program successes will be shared nationwide throughout the four-and-a-half year initiative and potentially adopted at hospitals and medical centers across the country.

"Racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare are a challenge everywhere," said Spencer Foreman, MD, president, Montefiore Medical Center. "Montefiore's experience managing integrated healthcare delivery systems in both the hospital and community settings can help address these disparities," said Dr. Foreman. "By combining a consistent quality of care with an effective use of computer information systems, we can track and thereby ensure the actual continuum of care."

The Expecting Success program will focus on a wide range of cardiovascular care interventions that are delivered in both inpatient and outpatient settings, with four key goals:

  • To improve cardiovascular care for African Americans and Hispanics;
  • To develop effective, replicable quality-improvement strategies, models and resources;
  • To encourage the spread of those strategies and models to clinical areas outside of cardiac care; and
  • To share relevant lessons with health care providers and policymakers nationwide.

"There is well-documented evidence of racial and ethnic disparities in cardiac care. African Americans and Hispanics are less likely to receive many cardiac therapies and procedures," said Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, research professor at The George Washington University's School of Public Health and Health Services and director of the Expecting Success National Program Office. "However, the recommended care for heart attacks and heart failure  is clear. We also know how to measure whether people are getting that care. So there is a very strong opportunity to make a real difference for minority patients."

Experts believe that a critical way to address and reduce racial and ethnic gaps in treatment is to improve the collection and tracking of patient data by race, ethnicity, and spoken language; evaluate whether specific patient populations are not getting the recommended standard of care; and design interventions that will consistently improve the quality of care for all patients, especially those most at risk of receiving lower-quality care.

"Combining our experience as an integrated health system with our strong heritage in heart health and cardiovascular treatment will result in even more effective solutions, improving healthcare quality and outcomes for everyone," said Steven M. Safyer, MD, chief medical officer and project director for the Expecting Success program at Montefiore.

For more information about the Expecting Success program, visit http://www.expectingsuccess.org/. Information about the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's portfolio of initiatives to reduce racial and ethnic gaps in health care is available at http://www.rwjf.org/.