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Good Samaritan University Hospital cardiology team

Good Samaritan University Hospital in West Islip, NY, is celebrating 10 years of providing heart patients who require complex surgery the expertise of St. Francis Heart Center’s physicians on site through its open-heart surgery program in West Islip. The St. Francis Open-Heart Surgery Program at Good Samaritan University Hospital provides the precision cardiovascular surgical care St. Francis is internationally known for to residents of Suffolk and eastern Nassau Counties. As of December 2023, 3,230 open-heart surgeries have been performed.

The 10-year collaboration between the two Catholic Health hospitals places a highly experienced team of St. Francis Heart Center surgeons, anesthesiologists, registered nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and perfusionists, all on-site at Good Samaritan.

In addition to being New York’s only specialty designated cardiac center, St. Francis is repeatedly ranked as one of the top hospitals—both on Long Island and in the country—for cardiology and heart surgery and is consistently ranked as one of the best hospitals in the nation for Heart & Vascular by U.S. News & World Report.

“It has been incredible experience to help lead this program at Good Samaritan University Hospital,” said Chair of Cardiothoracic Surgery & Director of the St. Francis Open Heart Surgery Program Christopher La Mendola, MD. “Our entire team is committed to bringing the quality of St. Francis’ surgical program to residents of Suffolk and eastern Nassau Counties. Our focus is to now continue to improve our community’s health through new programs, services and incredible outcomes.”

In May 2023, St. Francis Hospital and Heart Center® was awarded the nationally recognized HeartCARE Center™ designation by The American College of Cardiology (ACC), the only ACC HeartCARE™ Center designation in our region, inclusive of the five boroughs of New York City, Long Island and Westchester.

St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® is also consistently recognized as one of the safest hospitals in the country, receiving 22 “A” grades for safety from the Leapfrog Group—the most for any hospital in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens Counties. In December 2023, St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center® was named a Top Teaching Hospital by The Leapfrog Group for its nationally recognized achievements in patient safety and quality. The Leapfrog Group is a national nonprofit organization that measures the standard of patient safety in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. In addition, St. Francis received its 4th consecutive 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare Services (CMS), the first hospital on Long Island to receive this 5 star ranking. 

Both Good Samaritan University Hospital and St. Francis Hospital are Magnet® designated facilities, among just 10% in the U.S. to have earned this recognition for nursing excellence. In addition, Good Samaritan University Hospital has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as High Performing for congestive heart failure, diabetes and stroke. It has also earned the AACN Silver Beacon Award of Excellence, has been named a CSU-ALS Center of Excellence, and received a three-star rating from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons for coronary artery bypass surgery and mitral valve surgery. The success of this program has led to the development of other St. Francis Heart Center programs at Good Samaritan, including minimally invasive TAVR procedures, an Aortic Center, Cardiac Imaging and the Women’s Heart Wellness Program.

“It has been a privilege to collaborate with Dr. La Mendola and lead such a dedicated team of nurses who truly live the Catholic Health I-CARE values, placing the patient in the center of all we do,” said Director of Nursing-Cardiac Intensive Care Sunday Caldwell, DNP, NP, ANP-BC, NE-BC. “Our unique nursing care delivery model for the open heart surgery program, which consists of cross training all RNs to the ICU level of care, has helped to support our outstanding patient outcomes. We look forward to continuing to serve our Good Samaritan community in providing excellence in cardiac care.”

Learn more about the St. Francis Heart Center at Good Samaritan University Hospital.

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