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SEATTLE - (July 19, 2011) — Virginia Mason Medical Center is one of the top hospitals in the nation for gastroenterology, ranking 31st in the U.S. News & World Report's 2011-12 50 Best Hospitals guide, available on newsstands Aug. 30. Also, nine Virginia Mason specialty areas are listed for high performance in the U.S. News Best Hospitals metro-area rankings for the 51 largest metro areas.

"Everyone on our Digestive Disease team played a crucial role in achieving this recognition — by delivering the highest quality, safest care available," said Richard Kozarek, MD, executive director of the Digestive Disease Institute at Virginia Mason. "We remind each other every day that the patient is at the heart of everything we do."

Virginia Mason offers a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic digestive disease services and has received worldwide attention because of excellent survival results for colon, esophageal and pancreatic cancer patients. Virginia Mason provides expertise in advanced endoscopic techniques, such as resection of early cancers in high-risk patients, minimally invasive treatments for unresectable pancreaticobiliary tumors and innovative hybrid procedures using endoscopic and laparoscopic methods.

Nine high-performing specialty areas
The specialty areas cited for high performance are: cancer; ear, nose and throat; geriatrics; gynecology; nephrology; neurology and neurosurgery; orthopedics; pulmonology and urology. The rankings recognize hospitals in or near major cities with a record of high performance in key medical specialties.

The metro-area rankings are relevant to a wide range of health care consumers. They are aimed primarily at consumers whose care may not demand the special expertise found only at a nationally ranked Best Hospital. To be ranked in its metro area, a hospital had to score in the top 25 percent among its peers in at least one of 16 medical specialties.

U.S. News created Best Hospitals more than 20 years ago to identify those exceptionally skilled in handling the most difficult cases, such as brain tumors typically considered inoperable and delicate pancreatic procedures.

"We are so pleased to be recognized for our high performance by U.S. News & World Report," says Gary S. Kaplan, MD, chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason. "This information provides patients with a valuable tool to access high-quality health care and have peace of mind that they've selected the best hospital to meet their complex needs."

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, Facebook/VMcares or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.

For media inquiries, contact:
Michelle Peterson, (206) 583-6581

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