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Study Ranks SMH Among Nation’s Top 5% of Hospitals for Clinical Excellence

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Patients checking into high performing hospitals like SMH have fewer complications and a nearly 30 percent lower chance of dying

Aerial ViewSARASOTA, Fla. (Jan. 26, 2011) – Sarasota Memorial Health Care System has been ranked among the nation’s top 5 percent of hospitals, according to an independent study of mortality and complication rates for nearly 5,000 hospitals, released by HealthGrades, the nation's leading healthcare ratings company.

For the ninth straight year, Sarasota Memorial received the 2011 HealthGrades Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence™ Award – one of only 268 hospitals in the nation, 29 in Florida and the only one in the Suncoast region, which includes Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties.

In this ninth annual study of overall clinical performance, HealthGrades identified hospitals in the top 5 percent in the nation who outperformed all other hospitals across 26 procedures and diagnoses, from bypass surgery to hip-replacement surgery.

Specifically, the study found patients admitted at the top performing hospitals were less likely to suffer complications and had a 29.82 percent lower risk-adjusted mortality rate. In fact, the study notes, if all hospitals provided the same high quality care, 158,684 Medicare lives could potentially have been saved and 3,511 Medicare in-hospital complications potentially avoided.

“We’re very proud of this distinction because it is a testament to the commitment and caliber of our physicians and health care team who are saving lives every day,” said Sarasota Memorial CEO Gwen MacKenzie. “And though the recognition is heartening, at the end of the day, what makes us most proud is how our patients feel, and we want them to feel better just knowing we’re here.”

Unlike other hospital quality studies, HealthGrades evaluates hospitals solely on patients’ clinical outcomes: risk-adjusted mortality and in-hospital complications. In the 2011 Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence, HealthGrades’ analysis was based on approximately 40 million Medicare patient discharges for the years 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Throughout the years, Sarasota Memorial has consistently achieved multiple HealthGrades quality designations. Other quality designations in 2010 and so far in 2011 include:

  • America’s 50 Best Hospitals recognizing the top 1% of all hospitals in the nation for overall clinical excellence for four years (2007-2010) – 2011 not yet announced.
  • Excellence in Cardiac Care & Coronary Intervention – 2010
  • Excellence in Gastrointestinal Care & Gastrointestinal Surgery–2010 & 2011
  • Excellence in Maternity Care – 2010 & 2011
  • Excellence in Spine Surgery – 2010
  • Excellence in Pulmonary Care – 2010 & 2011
  • Excellence in Critical Care – 2010 & 2011
  • Distinguished Hospital in Patient Safety – 2010 (2011 not yet announced)
  • Excellence in Women’s Health Excellence – 2010 & 2011

The study released today, which also includes the first-ever list of America’s Top 50 Cities for Hospital Care, 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.”

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 Sarasota Memorial:
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional referral center offering Southwest Florida’s greatest breadth and depth of inpatient, outpatient and extended care services, with more than 700,000 patient visits a year. Sarasota Memorial’s 806-bed acute care hospital has been recognized repeatedly as one of the nation’s largest, safest and best, with superior patient outcomes and a complete continuum of outpatient services– from urgent care walk-in clinics and physician groups, laboratory and diagnostic imaging centers, to home health and skilled nursing & rehabilitation. For information, visit:

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. For more information, visit:

Kim Savage
(941) 917-6271

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