HealthGrades' 'top hospitals' save substantially more lives

Fifty top hospitals received HealthGrades' stamp of approval after undergoing a demanding analysis of their mortality rates and the number of complications their patients experience after any one of 26 procedures or diagnoses. If all U.S. hospitals had matched the rigorous requirements of the top 50, the report reckons that nearly 165,000 lives would have been saved among just Medicare patients and that another 19,000 Medicare inpatients would not have suffered from additional complications.

The states with the highest number of recipients of the HealthGrades Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence were Florida, with nine hospitals, including Delray and Palm Beach Gardens Medical Centers; Ohio, also with nine hospitals, including Christ and Marymount Hospitals; and Pennsylvania, which also had nine hospitals, including Lancaster General and Saint Luke's Hospitals.

While the HealthGrades report is a helpful resource for identifying overall good hospitals, it serves as a treasure trove for locating hospitals with great track records on specific procedures or diagnoses.

For instance, Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, Ill., is distinguished for its expertise in stroke, heart failure and heart attacks, joint replacement and oncology. Located in Edgewood, Ky., St. Elizabeth Medical Center stands out for its heart, stroke, neurology and respiratory care programs. The Rio Grande Regional Hospital based in McAllen, Texas, is renowned for both its adult and pediatric care and intensive care units.

Check out individual hospitals' grades:
- here's the list