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LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Jan. 26, 2004 – HealthGrades, the healthcare quality company, announced today that Virginia Mason Medical Center has received the 2004 Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence. This distinction places Virginia Mason among the top 5 percent of all acute-care hospitals in the country in terms of overall clinical excellence across a broad array of services. Virginia Mason is the only healthcare institution in the Pacific Northwest to receive the Distinguished Hospital Award.

HealthGrades analyzes the quality of care at more than 4,700 hospitals across the country each year and publishes ratings based on the performance of that hospital. Hospitals are awarded a 5 star (best), 3 star (average), or 1 star (poor) rating. Each year, HealthGrades offers the Distinguished Hospital recognition to an elite group of hospitals that achieve notably high levels of performance across service lines that include cardiac, stroke, orthopedic, pulmonary/respiratory, vascular and gastrointestinal procedures.

HealthGrades’ 2004 Distinguished Hospital Award and annual Hospital Quality in America study are based on data collected from 2000 through 2002 by the federal government’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). “The analysis of actual complication and mortality rates produces a report-card rating of care quality for each individual facility,” said HealthGrades’ Senior Vice President Sarah Loughran. “By comparing the outcomes of patients against what is expected based on the severity of their condition and other factors, we can provide an accurate apples-to-apples comparison of hospitals.”

“We feel very honored to receive the Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence,” said Gary S. Kaplan, MD chairman and CEO. “What could be better for our patients and staff than to know that a highly regarded, independent source has determined that Virginia Mason Medical Center’s overall clinical quality for our patients is at an exceptional level compared to hospitals nationwide? Everyone throughout our organization and in the community should take pride in this tremendous accomplishment.”

Details regarding HealthGrades methodology are available at www.HealthGrades.com.

About HealthGrades
HealthGrades is a healthcare-quality ratings, information and advisory services company whose clients include healthcare providers, employers, health plans, insurance companies and consumers. With its proprietary, objective provider ratings and expert advisory services, HealthGrades is creating the standard for healthcare quality. HealthGrades provides its clients with targeted solutions that enable them to measure, assess, enhance and market healthcare quality. HealthGrades can be accessed through the Internet at www.HealthGrades.com.

About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Established in 1920, VMMC began as an eight-physician practice. It was named after the daughters of James Tate Mason, MD, and John M. Blackford, MD, who co-founded the clinic with radiologist Maurice Dwyer, MD The founders' vision was to provide a single place where patients could receive comprehensive medical care, a "one-stop shop" for virtually any medical problem or need.

Virginia Mason Medical Center is a private, non-profit organization offering a system of integrated health services. Gary S. Kaplan, MD, serves as chairman and CEO, and J. Michael Rona is president. The medical center includes:
  • a large, multi-specialty group practice of more than 390 physicians, offering both primary and specialty care;
  • a regional network of clinics including sports medicine facilities;
  • an acute-care hospital licensed for 336 beds;
  • an internationally recognized research institute;
  • an active philanthropic foundation;
  • Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and day health center for people living with AIDS.
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