HealthGrades identifies hospitals with highest-rated specialty practices

HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings company, today identified hospitals with specialty practices that are rated in the top ten percent in the nation. The annual analysis of specialty care at all 5,000 of the nation's nonfederal hospitals is based on objective criteria -- mortality and complication rates -- of 37 million hospitalizations over the years 2002, 2003 and 2004.

HealthGrades Specialty Excellence AwardsTM are given to hospitals with risk-adjusted mortality and complication rates that are the lowest ten percent in the nation in each of eight specialty care areas: cardiac, orthopedic, vascular, pulmonary, stroke, gastrointestinal, critical care and, for the first time, general surgery. To calculate the overall quality for each specialty care area, HealthGrades combined its star ratings for procedures and diagnoses in each category.

"To reach the top ten percent in the nation in cardiac, orthopedic, vascular or other broad categories of care means there is something special at these hospitals that is producing superior outcomes across all the procedures and conditions that make up that specialty," said Dr. Samantha Collier, HealthGrades Vice President of Medical Affairs. "The data analyzed is objective, based on information that hospitals themselves report to the federal government under the Medicare program, so there is no other way to reach the top ten percent other than to have the lowest mortality and complication rates in the country."

In determining the Specialty Excellence Awards, HealthGrades' star ratings in the following procedures and diagnoses were analyzed:

Coronary Bypass Surgery
Valve Replacement Surgery
Coronary Interventions (angioplasty, stent)
Heart Failure
Heart Attack
Atrial Fibrillation

Total Knee Replacement
Total Hip Replacement
Partial Hip Replacement
Hip Fracture

Contact: Scott Shapiro

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