The Programs That Make Us Great

U.S. News and World Reports recently ranked Nebraska Medicine as one of the best hospitals in the country for its expertise in six adult specialties: cancer care, gastroenterology and GI surgery, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, pulmonology and urology. This is the best performance for the hospital in terms of national recognition in these rankings. In... Read more »

national_6specsU.S. News and World Reports recently ranked Nebraska Medicine as one of the best hospitals in the country for its expertise in six adult specialties: cancer care, gastroenterology and GI surgery, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, pulmonology and urology. This is the best performance for the hospital in terms of national recognition in these rankings.

In a series of blog posts, the experts from each nationally-ranked department will highlight what makes Nebraska Medicine a leader in providing care to its patients.


For the third year, U.S. News & World Reports ranked The Nebraska Medical Center as a “Best Hospital for Pulmonary Care.”

In our pulmonary division, we’ve worked hard to meet our patients’ needs throughout the region—eastern Nebraska, western Iowa, South Dakota, and Kansas. We handle a great deal of general pulmonary care, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, bronchitis, shortness of breath, and cough.

Our national reputation is based on several well-established programs that are vital to treating patients with the most complex pulmonary problems, including:


Joe Sisson, MD

Pulmonary Hypertension Program

Our pulmonary hypertension clinic, under the leadership of Austin Thompson, MD, is known nationally. We diagnose and treat very sick patients who need specialty care for this condition. Pulmonary hypertension (PAH) is shortness of breath during routine activities—caused by increased pressure in arteries that carry blood from your heart to your lungs.

Many people in this region suffer from PAH, and we are the primary regional referral center for these patients. Our nurse case manager works very closely with Dr. Thompson to treat each PAH patient. Also, our PAH patients are often enrolled in clinical trials, which is very important since these trials offer novel treatments to our patients who have not responded to conventional medications.

Adult Cystic Fibrosis Center

Our adult cystic fibrosis (CF) program, led by Peter (Jim) Murphy, MD, is unique in this region, as we handle growing numbers of adult patients. CF patients are living much longer today, thanks to excellent patient care. Now they’re having children of their own—and we can and often treat the whole family. We are a certified Adult CF center and are recognized by the National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as a high performing benchmark program. In fact, our team travels to other CF centers in the nation to help improve their patient outcomes—in lung health maintenance as well as nutrition.

Critical Care Medicine (CCM)

At The Nebraska Medical Center, our intensive care units (ICU) are staffed with critical care specialists called intensivists. Many of our patients aren’t familiar with that term. Essentially, it means we are specialists in treating critically ill patients in the intensive care unit. Our CCM teams manage life-and-death situations—including talking with anxious patients and their families.

Our Division’s critical care specialists, in partnership with intensivists from anesthesia, lead three CCM teams who work closely with heart surgeons, neuro surgeons, neurologists and other specialists to manage their critically ill patients while they require intensive care. The CCM teams guide the patient’s overall care including supporting lung function with ventilators, administering IV fluids & medications, providing nutrition and getting patients up and walking. This proactive and team-based approach to the care of critically ill patients helps prevent infections, blood clots, pneumonia and other complications. That is why our shared patients have very good outcomes—and a key part of why our hospital ranking is high.

But that’s not all…our allergy, sleep and pulmonary services are growing.


Our well-established allergy program is growing. We have a nationally recognized allergy specialist, Jill Poole, MD, who is an expert at developing region-specific allergy testing and treatments for adults. We will expand our allergy program in the summer of 2015 when a second allergist joins Dr. Poole allowing us to reach more adult and pediatric patients with our allergy clinics.


Our busy sleep laboratories and clinics will soon be more visible in the Omaha community, as we expand our sleep program. Our sleep patients typically suffer from complex problems, and that’s where our sleep medicine experts excel. With our certified sleep laboratory, continued program development, and collaboration with other specialties such as otolaryngology, we are investigating new and innovative solutions for these complex sleep disorders.

Lung Transplantation

We will add lung transplantation to our portfolio in early 2015. This is especially exciting because no other facility in our region can provide this option for their severely ill pulmonary patients. Lung transplantation will be an important new dimension for our other pulmonary programs and will round out the types of organ transplantations offered at The Nebraska Medical Center.

As you can see, our Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy division is rising in the U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” rankings for good reasons. We’re proud of the progress we’re making.

Joe Sisson, MD

Larson Professor and Chief of the Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep & Allergy Division

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