HealthGrades recognizes America's 50 Best Hospitals for 2011

HealthGrades America's 50 Best Hospitals for 2011 were identified in a report issued today by the leading independent healthcare ratings organization. These hospitals demonstrated superior and sustained clinical quality over an eleven year time period, based on an analysis of more than 140 million Medicare patient records.

To be recognized with this elite distinction, hospitals must have had risk-adjusted mortality and complication rates that were in the top 5% in the nation for the most consecutive years. On average, patients treated at America's 50 Best Hospitals had a nearly 30% lower risk of death and 3% lower rate of complications. HealthGrades study found that if all U.S. hospitals had performed at this level, more than a half million Medicare deaths could have been prevented between 1999 and 2009.

"As our nation searches for a solution to providing Americans with access to high quality health care at an affordable price, these hospitals are setting the standard, demonstrating that consistent, sustainable clinical excellence is achievable," said Dr. Rick May, HealthGrades vice president of clinical quality services and co-author of the report.

HealthGrades America's 50 Best Hospitals are located in 28 cities in 19 states. The West Palm Beach, Fla. area leads the nation with six of these top-performing hospitals. Chicago and Cleveland come in next with four recognized hospitals each. Consumers can find out if their local hospital made the list at

So what makes these hospitals the best of the best? For the first time, HealthGrades conducted a survey of CEOs from America's 50 Best Hospitals to find out. The results show that factors key to sustained levels of superior clinical quality are: transparency of clinical quality outcomes, positive operating margins, above average tenure of executive team, computerized physician order entry systems and investment in physician feedback and leadership development. Details are included in the study.

HealthGrades America's 50 Best Hospitals study also compared the performance of these hospitals to all others and found:

  • If all hospitals performed at the level of the HealthGrades America's 50 Best, approximately 550,000 Medicare deaths over the last decade could have been prevented.
  • Compared with all other hospitals, the HealthGrades America's 50 Best had risk-adjusted mortality rates that were, on average, 28.59% lower and risk-adjusted in hospital complication rates that were 3.45% lower.
  • 86% are not-for-profit or local government entities
  • For some procedures and treatments, the variation was much wider. For treatment of pneumonia, the 50 Best hospitals had, on average, a 43.82% lower risk-adjusted mortality, and for treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease the hospitals had, on average, 42.81% lower risk adjusted mortality.

Complete procedure-by-procedure comparisons of the HealthGrades America's 50 Best Hospitals and all others can be found in the report at A comprehensive methodology for this award and all HealthGrades hospital ratings and rankings is also available online.

For this analysis, mortality or complication rates were evaluated for the following 26

procedures and treatments:

  • Back and Neck Surgery (Spinal Fusion)
  • Back and Neck Surgery (except Spinal Fusion)
  • Bowel Obstruction
  • Carotid Surgery
  • Cholecystectomy
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Coronary Bypass Surgery
  • Coronary Interventional Procedures (Angioplasty and Stents)
  • Diabetic Acidosis and Coma
  • Gastrointestinal Bleed
  • Gastrointestinal Surgeries and Procedures
  • Heart Attack
  • Heart Failure
  • Hip Fracture Repair
  • Pancreatitis
  • Peripheral Vascular Bypass
  • Pneumonia
  • Prostatectomy
  • Pulmonary Embolism
  • Resection/Replacement of Abdominal Aorta
  • Respiratory Failure
  • Sepsis
  • Stroke
  • Total Hip Replacement
  • Total Knee Replacement
  • Valve Replacement Surgery



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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