staying powerCEO LETTER

Our Hearts Are in Our Work

Salanger Matt web

At UHS, we really put our hearts into our work. Locally and across the country, we’re regarded as a leading institution in the care of heart patients, and an innovator in offering the latest in cardiovascular procedures. It’s a distinction we’re proud of, not just because it makes us feel good about the services we provide, but because we know it makes a difference in so many people’s lives.  

Over the years, we’ve pioneered a number of advances in heart care in our community, introducing angioplasty, open heart surgery and cardiac rehabilitation, to name a few. We’ve created trauma, stroke and chest pain centers at UHS Wilson Medical Center, and have launched community resources like Stay Healthy, where people can learn about fitness, nutrition, smoking cessation and overall wellness. Within the past few months alone, we’ve achieved several milestones in the ongoing development of our total approach to cardiac care in the Southern Tier.

This past summer, we opened a new clinic to treat patients with valvular heart disease, the first step in the creation of the UHS Structural Heart and Valve Center. Opened under the direction of Alon Yarkoni, MD, the clinic allows medical and surgical experts to use the latest technology to determine treatment options.

Within the past few weeks, we began offering a new type of valve surgery that benefits many heart patients otherwise deemed inoperable or high-risk. The method, known as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), will benefit many individuals, allowing them to live longer and with a better quality of life than treatment with medications alone.

Recently, we received a national “Get With the Guidelines–Heart Failure Gold-Plus Quality Achievement Award” for our exceptional care of patients experiencing heart failure. To qualify, we were able to show that we have implemented specific quality measures outlined by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology Foundation. And The Joint Commission, America’s leading accreditor of healthcare organizations, recognized UHS as a “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures” for sustaining excellence in the way we care for patients with heart attacks, heart failure and surgeries.  

Also during the year, our Cardiac Rehabilitation program earned three-year accreditation for adhering to the national guidelines of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation — the fourth time the program has won this designation. And the American Heart Association recognized UHS for being an employer that takes its own employees’ heart health seriously, bestowing on us a “Fit-Friendly Worksite” gold award.

Perhaps most significantly, in November 2014 we integrated all of our cardiac services under one banner — the UHS Heart Institute — based at UHS Wilson and extending across our healthcare system. The institute is designed to advance the quality and effectiveness of cardiac care, improve the patient experience, and augment the breadth and depth of existing cardiovascular services. It brings together all heart-related activities within a common organizational format that allows us to plan and implement services across the full spectrum of care.

As Afzal ur Rehman, MD, PhD, managing director of the institute, has said: “Organizing all cardiac services under one umbrella facilitates teamwork, enhances uniformity of care, improves communications, makes transitions of care as safe as possible and allows a close focus on quality and efficiency, to the benefit of patients.”

That statement aptly sums up our approach to all of the heart care we offer at UHS. We are committed to giving residents of the Southern Tier access to the best possible care options, ensuring that lifesaving and life-improving care is available to them whenever they are in need. And we’re devoted to making the care experience the most comprehensive, reassuring and beneficial one it can possibly be. That’s because, every day, our hearts are really in it.


Matthew J. Salanger
President and CEO of UHS