Few for-profit hospitals on HealthGrades' top 50 list

HealthGrades recently announced this year's list of what it considers to be America's 50 best hospitals. All of the hospitals listed demonstrated sustained clinical quality over an 11-year period, based on more than 140 million Medicare patient records.

Most (86 percent) were not-for-profit or local government entities, which begs the question: Does the focus on the financial bottom line of for-profit hospitals interfere with efforts to improve quality of care?

To be counted among the top 50, the hospital had to achieve risk-adjusted mortality and complication rates that vaulted them into the top 5 percent in the nation for the most consecutive years. On average, patients treated at these hospital had a nearly 30 percent lower risk of death, and 3 percent lower rate of complications.

According to HealthGrades, which is an independent healthcare ratings organization, if all U.S. hospitals performed as well as the top 50, more than 500,000 Medicare deaths would have been prevented between 1999 and 2009.

To learn more:
- read the press release
- see the list of hospitals that made the grade