Pennsylvania's health department has stopped adding hospitals to an angioplasty pilot program at the recommendation of a legislative oversight committee, which said many recently established programs were not meeting the national volume standards for proficiency. Mortality rates were not worse than national averages. Eleven hospitals are participating in the three-year demonstration project, designed to determine if small community hospitals can safely perform coronary angioplasty without backup open-heart surgery programs. The latest hospital was approved for participation in April. While many new cardiac-catheterization programs were not meeting volume standards because of a proliferation of programs in the state, Pennsylvania hospitals were performing more therapeutic catheterizations than expected and the volume of open-heart procedures had declined, according to the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee. -- by Cinda Becker
Volumes down, Pa. closes angio pilot to new hospitals
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