Public Release: 

HealthGrades identifies hospitals with highest-rated specialty practices

Top 10 percent in the nation in the following specialty areas: Cardiac, orthopedic, vascular, pulmonary, stroke, general surgery, gastrointestinal and critical care


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 Repair
Back & Neck Surgery
Spinal Fusion

Community Acquired Pneumonia
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Carotid Endarterectomy
Peripheral Vascular Bypass
Resection/Replacement Abdominal Aorta

Gastrointestinal Bleed
Gastrointestinal Procedures & Surgeries
Bowel Obstruction

Critical Care
Respiratory Failure
Pulmonary Embolism

General Surgery
Bowel Obstruction

The critical care specialty category also includes the Leapfrog indicator for intensivist use. More information on the methodology can be found at HealthGrades' Web site.

Consumers can find the award recipients at, where more than 2.5 million individuals each month search for ratings and quality information on hospitals, physicians and nursing homes.


About HealthGrades
HealthGrades (Nasdaq:HGRD) is the leading healthcare ratings organization, providing ratings and profiles of hospitals, nursing homes and physicians to consumers, corporations, health plans and hospitals. Millions of consumers and hundreds of the nation's largest employers, health plans and hospitals rely on HealthGrades' independent ratings and decision-support resources to make healthcare decisions based on the quality of care. More information on the company can be found at

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