American Heart Association and the Mitral Foundation recognize St. Joseph’s Health’s commitment to best practices, quality for mitral valve repair

Syracuse, NY — (January 11, 2021) St. Joseph’s Health has received the Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award from the American Heart Association and the Mitral Foundation for a demonstrated record of superior clinical outcomes resulting from evidence-based, guideline-directed degenerative mitral valve repair. Only seven organizations in the country received the designation.

The Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award was developed to identify, recognize and promote the nation’s recognized medical centers for mitral valve repair surgery.

“The Mitral Valve Repair Reference Award further proves that St. Joseph’s Health is one of the premier heart care facilities in the country,” said Dr. Philip Falcone, Chief Medical Officer at St. Joseph’s Health. “Improving heart health in communities near and far has always been a primary focus at St. Joseph’s Health. With this prestigious award, we have proven that St. Joseph’s Health is committed to delivering the widest range of cardiac services and the highest level of care to our patients.”

The recommended treatment for degenerative mitral valve disease is mitral valve reconstruction, as opposed to valve replacement with a bioprosthetic or mechanical valve, because valve repair is associated with improved survival and fewer long-term complications. Many patients who would benefit from repair receive replacement valves, with higher rates of death or complications within five years after surgery.

St. Joseph’s Health earned the award for meeting specific quality achievement measures at a set level for a designated period of time. Participating in this recognition program demonstrates adherence to evidence-based treatment guidelines as well as an ongoing commitment to reporting and measuring quality and outcome metrics specific to mitral valve repairs.

“This award once again reflects our team's commitment to clinical excellence,” said Dr. Charles Lutz, Program Director of Cardiac Surgery at St. Joseph’s Health. “The Mitral Valve Repair Reference Award is a highly selective award. This recognition truly sets our cardiac surgery team apart from other hospitals in our region and across the country.”

The Mitral Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board, a multidisciplinary group of leaders including cardiologists, imagers, and surgeons from around the country, developed the criteria applied in the evaluation of candidate centers.

“We are pleased to recognize St. Joseph’s Health for their commitment to patients who need mitral valve repair,” said Robert O. Bonow, MD, professor of cardiology at Northwestern University and past president of the AHA. “Choosing the right hospital for heart surgery is one of the most important healthcare decisions that patients and their referring physicians must make to insure best outcomes. The Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center award identifies hospitals with excellent processes and outcomes and gives patients and cardiologists the information necessary to make these important decisions when mitral valve surgery is required.”

St. Joseph’s Health is one of only 8 hospitals in the nation to be named an American Heart Association Center of Excellence, one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Surgery according to a national study by Healthgrades, and it received the highest performance rating for Heart Bypass Surgery by U.S. News and World Report. St. Joseph’s Health was also recently named one of the nation’s 50 top performing hospitals by Fortune and IBM Watson Health. For more information, visit

More information about the American Heart Association and Mitral Foundation Mitral Valve Repair Reference Center Award is available at on


About St. Joseph’s Health

St. Joseph’s Health is a regional non-profit health care system based in Syracuse, NY. St. Joseph’s has been an innovative leader in health care since our founding in 1869 as the first hospital open to the public in the city of Syracuse. Offering primary, specialty and home care, a Magnet-recognized hospital, and collaboration with community partners, St. Joseph's Health advances the well-being of the communities we serve through an expanding range of services to ensure our patients achieve optimum long-term health. St. Joseph’s is the only hospital in Syracuse to hold the LeapFrog ‘A’ safety rating, ranked by Consumer Reports among the top 15 heart surgery centers in the country, a designated Stroke Center and a U.S. News “Best Regional Hospital.” The St. Joseph’s Health Hospital NICU was the first in Syracuse and is celebrating its 50th Anniversary throughout 2020. St. Joseph’s Health is affiliated with St. Joseph’s Physicians and is a member of Trinity Health. For more information, visit