One of the Nations Top 50 Heart Hospitals

Truven Top 50The physicians and staff created the IHI Experience Initiative to challenge themselves to enhance their performance in service and quality. Meeting three times a month to discuss cases and analyze data for improvement, the cardiovascular surgeons and cardiologists work with nurses, pharmacists, quality-improvement experts and other hospital employees to continually refine performance on clinical outcomes. Everyone was at the table to discuss how to improve the data. In addition, the physicians work as a team--the hospital employs the physicians in a group practice, which facilitates collaboration, not competition for patients.  


Thomas McGuire, Administrator for the Heart Institute says, “This award is a result of a focused effort to improving quality, but more importantly, it is about advancing patient care.  We won’t stop at being satisfied as one of the top 50 heart hospitals. We will continue our work to improve the quality of patient care.  The award is a nice pat on the back for that.” The study scored the performance of more than 1000 hospitals on 22 measures including quality, efficiency and safety.

The study analyzed outcomes for patients with heart failure and heart attacks and for those who received coronary bypass surgery and percutaneous coronary interventions such as angioplasties. Top hospitals out-performed peer hospitals on all measures, but some of the largest percentage differences were in risk-adjusted mortality and complication rates. 

Even though our heart-failure readmissions are some of the lowest in the country, we continue to refine the way we work with patients. Cardiologist  Joe Knapp says St. Pat’s is evaluating a proposal to develop a heart-failure clinic in which physical therapists, dieticians, social workers and other healthcare workers would help patients address lifestyle issues, such as sedentary behavior and poor food choices.  

“Heart-failure patients are already seen by a primary-care physician who focuses on medication management, but there is an awful lot in the management of these people with chronic conditions that is not so much pharmacy-specific as it is lifestyle specific.”  

Truven Health Analytics—formerly Thomson Reuters—ranks heart programs using data from Medicare cost reports, Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) and Hospital Compare.  

The 50 Top Hospitals surpassed other hospitals by indicating:

"Achieving this award demonstrates the leadership and teamwork of the physicians and staff of IHI. The Institute identified clinical standards and created the IHI Experience Initiative to enhance our focus on service and quality. In the past, we've repeatedly achieved the 100 Top Hospital award. But, through the diligent efforts and commitment to excellence, the Institute surpassed their past performance and now sit in the 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals in the nation," according to Joyce Dombrouski, chief acute services officer.


For heart failure patients, the average readmission rate to the hospital is almost 25%. But by making sure that you are treated correctly the first time, in addition to preparing you for discharge, St. Patrick Hospital was ranked the lowest readmission rate for congestive heart failure in the nation according to USA Today.

Chances are, once you leave, you won't come back. And that's a good thing.

View the interactive map on to see heart failure readmission rates for hospitals across the nation. To find St. Patrick Hospital select "Heart Failure", "Readmission" and "Lowest 100."

About The International Heart Institute of Montana

The International Heart Institute of Montana (IHI) brings together a recognized team of cardiologists, heart surgeons, nurses and researchers to perform advanced cardiac procedures and to search for new and improved ways to treat heart disease. Founded in 1995, IHI involves physicians and staff of St. Patrick Hospital and The University of Montana. IHI has clinics in Missoula, Kalispell, Hamilton, Helena and Anaconda. IHI physicians travel to other communities in western Montana to provide medical consultations as well.

Our Commitment to You

The IHI staff understands that families and loved ones have unique needs and concerns, and are an important part of the healing process. Our specialists, nurses and staff are committed to keeping you informed throughout the process. We make sure your questions are answered and your family's needs are met during hospitalization and outpatient care. We will communicate promptly with your personal physician.

Our Services

The IHI includes cardiothoracic surgeons, interventional cardiologists, electrophysiologists, non-interventional cardiologists and midlevel providers. They provide a full spectrum of cardiac care, including open heart surgery care, vascular surgery, cardiology (general, interventional and electrophysiology) care and programs for  congestive heart failure and women's heart health. IHI pacemaker clinics operate in Missoula, Plains and Helena. Full non-invasive cardiac imaging services are available including echocardiography, nuclear cardiac imaging and CT angiography.