Keck Medicine of USC’s Center for Vascular Care is one of just four programs in the entire country to be verified by the new Vascular Verification Program (Vascular-VP) overseen by the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

“This was a team effort,” said Fred Weaver, MD, MMM, chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy. “A lot of people put in time and effort to achieve this verification.”

The Vascular-VP was developed to offer vascular centers a framework for improving their quality of care and developing program infrastructure. Keck Medicine’s nationally recognized program was chosen as an initial pilot site for the Vascular-VP program, and then Keck Medicine and the three other pilot sites were used to set the benchmarks for verification.

The Vascular-VP evaluation was an exhaustive one. Numerous aspects of the program came under scrutiny: surgeons, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and quality managers were all evaluated, as well as equipment and facilities, the hospital administration’s support for the program and the program’s handling of complex conditions such as aortic aneurysms, carotid disease and peripheral artery disease.

The Vascular-VP also looked at the center’s grants and research productivity. “It’s not enough to be satisfied with an outstanding quality of care,” explained Weaver. “The Center needs to be pushing the field forward as a whole.” On a similar note, the Vascular-VP evaluation took data management and outcomes analysis into account. “We track and examine outcomes data because we are committed to continually improving. It’s crucial to always be looking at how we can do better for our patients,” he said.

Weaver was careful to point out that the Center for Vascular Care does not exist in a vacuum. “It intersects and collaborates with cardiac surgery, neurosurgery, cardiology, interventional radiology, vascular diagnostic imaging and of course dozens of support staff, allied health professionals and quality officers. This achievement took everyone working at top form.”

Overall, the Vascular-VP is set to become an important resource that will allow patients to be certain that they have chosen to receive care at a vascular center with solid research, exceptional quality of care and a robust patient-centered infrastructure.

“This speaks well for how far Keck Medicine has come in providing care for vascular patients,” said Weaver. “We have participated in setting the standard for the care provided in SVS-ACS verified vascular centers.”

— Lex Davis