HealthGrades Names Top 50 Cities for Hospital Care

- Quality Study Identifies Hospitals in Top 5% in Nation; Cities that Have Highest Concentration of Top Hospitals -

- Nearly 94% of Consumers Say They Would Go Out of Their Way to Seek Care at a Highly-Rated Hospital -

Jan 26, 2011, 00:01 ET from HealthGrades

DENVER, Jan. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Responding to consumers' concerns about the quality of hospital care in their communities, HealthGrades, the nation's leading independent health care ratings organization, today released the first-ever list of America's Top 50 Cities for Hospital Care. The rankings are based on a comprehensive study of patient death and complication rates at the nation's nearly 5,000 hospitals.

As part of its ninth annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality and Clinical Excellence study, HealthGrades identified those hospitals performing in the top 5% nationwide across 26 different medical procedures and diagnoses, then ranked cities by highest percentage of these Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence™.

West Palm Beach, FL ranked #1 in the nation, with nine out of 12 hospitals designated as top-performers. Rounding out the top five markets for hospital care quality were: Brownsville, TX, Dayton, OH, Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN and Tucson, AZ, respectively. The complete list of Top 50 Cities for Hospital Care and all Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence can be found at

Unlike other hospital quality studies, HealthGrades evaluates hospitals solely on patients' clinical outcomes: risk-adjusted mortality and inhospital complications. HealthGrades' analysis is based on approximately 40 million Medicare patient discharges for the years 2007, 2008 and 2009.

This year's study found that consumers are highly aware of differences in hospital quality within their communities, expect continued transparency from hospitals when it comes to quality, and rely on clinical quality ratings as a trusted source when choosing a provider.

"Our research indicates that the recent health care reform debate and highly-publicized reports about the persistence of wide variation in the quality of patient care at U.S. hospitals have resonated with the American public," said Dr. Rick May, HealthGrades vice president of clinical quality services and study co-author. "No longer is today's health care consumer simply looking for the least expensive option when it comes to medical care. They expect high quality and are willing to go out of their way to get it."

According to a survey of nearly 15,000 visitors to that was included in HealthGrades Hospital Quality and Clinical Excellence study:

  • 83.4% of consumers are very or somewhat concerned about hospital quality in their community.

  • Almost all patients surveyed, 93.8%, reported being willing to go out of their way (drive further, reschedule appointments) to seek care at a more highly rated hospital. The majority of health care consumers surveyed, 64.9%, also stated that they would be willing to pay more out of pocket to seek care at a top-rated hospital.

  • Over half, 57.0%, believe online hospital quality ratings are a trustworthy source of information.

  • 66.8% want access to more quality information and 60.7% of survey respondents feel the federal government should pay highly-performing hospitals more.

Other key findings from the study are as follows:

  • Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence (Top 5% in the nation) outperform all other hospitals across all of the 17 mortality cohorts and six of nine complication cohorts studied from 2007 through 2009.

  • Specifically, Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence had a 29.82% lower risk-adjusted inhospital mortality rate and a 1.91% lower risk-adjusted inhospital complication rate among Medicare beneficiaries compared to all other hospitals.

  • In fact, if all hospitals performed at this level, 158,684 Medicare lives could potentially have been saved and 3,511 Medicare inhospital complications could potentially have been avoided.

HealthGrades' Hospital Ratings

As part of this study, HealthGrades rates each of the nation's 5,000 nonfederal hospitals in 26 procedures and diagnoses, allowing individuals to compare their local hospitals online at HealthGrades' hospital ratings are independently created; no hospital can opt-in or opt-out of being rated, and no hospital pays to be rated. Mortality and complication rates are risk adjusted, which takes into account differing levels of severity of patient illness at different hospitals and allows for hospitals to be compared equally.

About HealthGrades

HealthGrades is the leading independent health care ratings organization, providing quality ratings, profiles and cost information on the nation's hospitals, physicians, and nursing homes. Millions of patients and many of the nation's largest employers, health plans and hospitals rely on HealthGrades' quality ratings, advisory services and decision-support resources. The HealthGrades network of web sites is a top-ten health property according to comScore and is the Internet's leading destination for patients choosing providers. More information on how HealthGrades guides Americans to their best health can be found at

SOURCE HealthGrades