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HealthGrades Report Places Hospital Among Top 5 Percent in Nation

HealthGrades 2012 Patient Safety Excellence AwardSEATTLE – (May 22, 2012) — For the third year in a row, Virginia Mason Medical Center has been named a recipient of the Patient Safety Excellence Award™ by HealthGrades®. Virginia Mason is one of 263 hospitals in the nation to receive this award.

This distinction is based on an analysis of Medicare data compiled from nearly 40 million publicly reported hospitalizations from 5,000 hospitals nationwide that participate in the Medicare program.

Based on this analysis, Virginia Mason ranks among the top 5 percent of hospitals nationwide for patient safety. If all hospitals performed at the same level as Virginia Mason, HealthGrades estimates there would be 56,367 fewer deaths and 254,000 fewer patient safety events among Medicare patients every year.

“Hospitals like Virginia Mason are not only setting the bar for high standards of patient safety but also serving as an example for other hospitals,” said Kristin Reed, MPH, vice president of hospital quality programs at HealthGrades and author of the study.

Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD, said the medical center’s entire team is engaged in patient safety efforts. He pointed to Virginia Mason’s Patient Safety Alert (PSA) system, which requires staff who encounter a situation likely to harm a patient to make an immediate report and “stop the line” or cease any activity that could cause harm.

“Our PSA system has been acknowledged as a model program for improving safety and preventing errors,” Kaplan said. “This HealthGrades recognition is a testament to the commitment of our physicians and staff to making sure our patients receive the safest, highest-quality care.”

HealthGrades uses Medicare inpatient data from the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) database and Patient Safety Indicator software from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to calculate event rates for 13 indicators of patient safety for all of the nation’s hospitals:

HealthGrades analyzes the following patient safety events for this study:

  • Death in procedures where mortality is usually very low
  • Pressure or bed sores acquired in hospital
  • Death following a serious complication after surgery
  • Foreign object left in body during a procedure
  • Collapsed lung due to procedure or surgery in or around chest
  • Catheter-related bloodstream infections acquired at hospital
  • Hip fracture following surgery
  • Hemorrhage or hematoma resulting from procedure or surgery
  • Electrolyte and fluid imbalance following surgery
  • Respiratory failure following surgery
  • Deep blood clots in lungs or legs following surgery
  • Sepsis following surgery
  • Breakdown of abdominal incision site

The HealthGrades Patient Safety Excellence Award comes on the heels of three other recent honors for Virginia Mason. Recently, HealthGrades named Virginia Mason a Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence, as well as a recipient of America’s 100 Best Specialty Excellence Award for Overall Cardiac and Gastrointestinal Care. In December, The Leapfrog Group named Virginia Mason a Top Hospital for the sixth consecutive year, joining University of Maryland Medical Center-Baltimore (UMMC) as the only two hospitals to receive Top Hospital distinction every year since the recognition program’s inception in 2006.

In 2010, Virginia Mason was named Top Hospital of the Decade by The Leapfrog Group.

About HealthGrades
HealthGrades, headquartered in Denver, is a leading provider of comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. More than 200 million consumers use the HealthGrades websites, including and, to research, select and connect with a physician or hospital, and use its comprehensive information about clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, patient safety and health conditions to make more informed health care decisions and take action. More information on how HealthGrades guides Americans to their best health can be found at

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. Virginia Mason employs more than 5,300 people and includes a 336-bed acute-care hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 450 physicians; satellite locations throughout the Puget Sound area; and Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS. Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason is internationally recognized for its breakthrough autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason was the first health system to apply lean manufacturing principles to health care delivery to eliminate waste and improve quality and patient safety.  

To learn more about Virginia Mason Medical Center, please visit or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.

To learn more about how Virginia Mason is transforming health care and to join the conversation, visit our blog at

For media inquiries, contact:
John Gillespie, Virginia Mason Media Relations
(206) 341-1509 (o); 206-402-2822 (m)

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