Study Places NCH in Top 5% Nationally for Clinical Excellence

Patients at HealthGrades Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence Have 12-20% Better Survival Rates for Common Procedures and Diagnoses.

February 2, 2005 - (Naples, FL)  The NCH Healthcare System announced today that a new national study by HealthGrades places it among the top five percent in the U.S. for clinical quality performance. As a result, HealthGrades, the nation’s leading independent healthcare quality company, has recognized The NCH Healthcare System with the 2005 Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical ExcellenceTM.

The HealthGrades study identifies the highest-quality hospitals in the nation in terms of clinical excellence by analyzing federal Medicare patient data for 28 common medical procedures and diagnoses, from hip replacement to bypass surgery. NCH is one of only 229 hospitals in the country to qualify for the recognition in the study, which is officially titled the HealthGrades 2005 Study of Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence.

“Saving and improving the lives of people in this community is the top priority of our physicians, nurses and staff,” said Edward Morton, Chief Executive Officer. “As an objective third party, HealthGrades has found that we’re not only achieving our goal, but performing in elite company nationwide. I am very pleased with this recognition, which is shared by everyone affiliated with the NCH Healthcare System.”

According to the HealthGrades study, Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence have markedly better mortality and complication rates, even though they tend to treat more and sicker patients. Nationally, a Medicare patient who underwent heart bypass surgery at a Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence had a 15.3 percent better chance of surviving than a patient who received treatment at an average hospital. The improved survival rates at Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence were also 15.4 percent for stroke, 12.62 percent for heart attack (in hospitals where angioplasty and stent treatments were available), and 19.55 percent for community acquired pneumonia.

“There is clearly a difference in the quality of care available, and for patients and families in our community, this is good news,” said Morton. “It means that at the NCH Healthcare System, patients with serious conditions and complex diagnoses are much more likely to survive and thrive as a result of their hospital stay.”

In its 2005 study, HealthGrades independently and objectively analyzed Medicare patient records from fiscal years 2001-03, for 28 medical procedures and diagnoses. To qualify for the list, hospitals were required to meet minimum thresholds in terms of patient volumes, quality ratings and the range of services provided (see attached methodology paper for details). Hospitals with risk-adjusted mortality and complication rates that scored in the top five percent or better nationally – which demonstrates superior overall clinical performance – were then recognized as Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence.

The NCH Healthcare System is an alliance of over 550 physicians, two hospitals and dozens of medical facilities in Naples, Florida.