Until now, only hospitals that had heart surgery programs were allowed to do these less invasive procedures. In 2007, the Washington State Legislature directed the department to set standards to allow other hospitals to perform the procedures. The department adopted standards after getting extensive public input. It hired an outside firm to review approaches taken in other states and to make recommendations.
The new programs are the first approved under the new standards. All of the proposals met the new standards, which included a minimum of 300 projected procedures per year. All but St. John Medical Center were already authorized to do emergency angioplasties.
The decision adds nine hospitals to the 18 that have been doing elective procedures in Washington.
Additional information on the department’s decision is on its Certificate of Need Web site (http://www.doh.wa.gov/hsqa/FSL/CertNeed/Decisions.htm).