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HealthGrades Quality Study Places Hospital Among Top 5 Percent in Nation


SEATTLE - (Jan. 23, 2012) - Virginia Mason Medical Center today was named a Distinguished Hospital for Clinical ExcellenceTM by HealthGrades. The distinction is based on an analysis of publicly reported Medicare data from 2008 through 2010, and places Virginia Mason among the top 5 percent of hospitals nationwide for clinical performance.

The HealthGrades Hospital Quality and Clinical Excellence study, released today, objectively identifies those hospitals with the best overall clinical performance across 26 medical diagnoses and procedures. Virginia Mason is one of just 263 top-performing hospitals receiving the Distinguished Hospital honor.

"Virginia Mason Medical Center can be proud of the contributions of its physicians, nurses and staff in achieving outstanding patient care," said Kristin Reed, MPH, HealthGrades vice president of hospital ratings and author of the study.

"The staff at Virginia Mason is dedicated to delivering the safest, highest quality care to every patient, every time," said Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD. "These ratings further demonstrate the great work of teams across the organization to continuously improve the quality and safety of the care we deliver to our patients. It re-affirms our vision to be the Quality Leader and transform health care."

Unlike other hospital quality studies, HealthGrades evaluates hospitals solely on clinical outcomes: risk-adjusted mortality and inpatient hospital complications. Using these top-performing hospitals as a benchmark in this year's study, HealthGrades quantifies the impact of differences in hospital quality in terms of lives lost and unexpected complications.

The HealthGrades study found that:

•·         Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence, such as Virginia Mason, outperform all other hospitals across all 17 mortality measures and six of nine complication measures studied from 2008 through 2010.

•·         Specifically, Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence had a 30.07 percent lower risk-adjusted mortality rate and a 1.86 percent lower risk-adjusted inpatient hospital complication rate for patients covered by Medicare compared to all other hospitals.

•·         If all hospitals performed at the level of Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence, 165,704 lives may have been saved and 6,800 inpatient hospital complications may have been avoided among these patients.

The HealthGrades Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence recognition comes on the heels of two other recent honors for Virginia Mason. In October, HealthGrades named Virginia Mason 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.

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit comprehensive regional health care system in Seattle that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 440 physicians with a 336-bed acute-care hospital. Virginia Mason operates a network of clinics throughout the Puget Sound area, and Bailey-Boushay House, a skilled-nursing facility and chronic care management program for people with HIV/AIDS. The medical center is affiliated with Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, internationally recognized in autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason is known for applying manufacturing principles to health care to improve quality and patient safety. For more information, visit or Facebook/VMcares or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.

HealthGrades Hospital Quality Distinctions
As part of this study, HealthGrades evaluates 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 quality distinctions are independently created; no hospital can opt-in or opt-out of being evaluated, and no hospital pays to be evaluated. 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, 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. Find more information about our products and services at Follow us on Twitter (@HealthGrades) and Facebook for news and updates. More information on how HealthGrades guides Americans to their best health can be found at

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

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