HealthGrades Names Nation's Top Hospitals

HealthGrades Names Nation's Top Hospitals

California grabs five spots in Top 50 and 20 spots in Overall Clinical Excellence

By Beth Duggan
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This past January, HealthGrades, an independent healthcare ratings organization, published its Seventh Annual Hospital Quality and Clinical Excellence study, naming not only the 50 Best Hospitals in America, but also 270 hospitals that earned the title of Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence.

Five California hospitals were named as one of the top 50 in the country: Cedars-Sinai, Glendale Adventist, Glendale Memorial, Good Samaritan and Saint John’s. The report states that if all hospitals matched the level of care of these facilities, then 152,666 lives may have been saved and 11,772 major complications avoided over the three years studied, meaning these hospitals established a 27 percent lower mortality rate and an eight percent lower complication rate than all other U.S. hospitals.

“To be ranked among America’s 50 best hospitals by HealthGrades for three consecutive years is a great honor and tribute to our physicians and staff who deliver wonderful care to our patients year after year,” said Andrew B. Leeka, president and CEO of Good Samaritan, which also ranked among the top hospitals in several specialty areas, including cardiac, orthopedics, critical care, pulmonary, stroke, gastrointestinal services, maternity care and women’s health services.

The first step for study’s authors in identifying these hospitals was to see which ones had received the Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence for all of the seven years the organization has bestowed the honor. Then they identified the hospitals that had received the DHA-CE for the past six years. These lists were put together and out came top 50.

“Glendale Memorial is proud to be a recipient of the Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence for seven years in a row,” said Kim Strange, interim president of the hospital. “This recognition reinforces our commitment to providing the highest quality care for the community.”

Glendale Memorial also achieved ranking in the top five percent for stroke care and general surgery, and in the top 10 percent for overall orthopedics, pulmonary care, GI services and surgery, women’s cardiac care and women’s stroke care.

Take another step back and we see how these DHA-CEs were awarded to begin with. The 2009 study is the analysis of nearly 41 million hospitalization records submitted by nonfederal hospitals to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for fiscal years 2005, 2006 and 2007. The patient outcome data across 26 different procedures and conditions is essentially what determined which hospitals earned this distinction. Those in the top 50 represent the top five percent.

“For a hospital to be in the top five percent in the nation in terms of quality, and then to maintain that for at least six consecutive years, means that the hospital has found a way to weave clinical excellence into the fabric of the organization” said Dr. Samantha Collier, HealthGrades’s chief medical officer and one of the authors of the study.

Twenty California hospitals other than the five previously mentioned earned the honor of being a Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence. Those in and around the Los Angeles area include Beverly Hospital in Montebello, Garfield Medical Center in Monterey Park, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, Saint Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles and the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica.

Jean Rico, vice president of clinical process improvement at Saint Vincent, said, “The dedication and superior clinical skills of our medical staff make this type of recognition possible. Our associates also provide excellent support and then talent necessary for SVMC to do what we do best, and that is taking great care of our patients.”

Providence Holy Cross received this award for the fourth year in a row despite a battle with chronic overcrowding and being in the middle of a 136-bed expansion. Two more years and you might see them sitting in the top five percent, but not due to any one person. Bernard Klein, M.D., chief medical officer there said, “The credit goes to our incomparable staff, our physicians and especially to our nurses, who work as a team to provide not only the best quality care, but the most compassionate care.”

Take all the awards and distinctions away, and Rick May, M.D., senior physician consultant for HealthGrades and another author of the study, sums up perhaps what all healthcare facilities should be taking from this report: “Patients should expect and demand the same level of care at all hospitals.”  

Beth Duggan has been a hospital patient only once in her life, and she got a popsicle when she was discharged.

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