Tuesday, October 18, 2011 3:59 PM

Fourth 5-star rating for vascular surgery at Fresno Heart & Surgical

Year after year, 5-star ratings at Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital assures patients that they are getting top surgical care, said Vascular Surgeon Randall G. Stern. He attributes the hospital’s sustained excellence to a focus on training, consistent care and the patient’s experience.

HealthGrades®, a national independent health care ratings organization, has rated Fresno Heart & Surgical as 5-stars for the fourth year in a row for the quality of its vascular care. The recognition is based on HealthGrades’ annual Hospital Quality in America study, which analyzed patient outcomes at 5,000 hospitals nationwide. HealthGrades found that typical patients at 5-star rated hospitals had a 63% lower risk of developing one or more in-hospital complications compared to those in a 1-star hospital, and a 43% lower risk of developing in-hospital complications compared to the U.S. hospital average.

Wanda Holderman, the hospital’s chief executive officer, praised staff, “The five-star recognition for carotid surgery is a tribute to the skilled physicians and specially trained staff. I applaud this distinction and recognize these outcomes are not coincidental, but are rather due to precision, expertise and a high level of competency.”

“We have a great team that is dedicated to clinical excellence and offering patients the best possible outcome and experience,” said Dr. Stern of the Fresno Heart & Surgical’s repeated high marks.”

Patients can continue to have confidence that they’re choosing the best when they decide to stay close to home for the high risk carotid surgery, added Dr. Stern.

“Patients today have a wide array options when it comes to choosing a health care provider,” said Kerry Hicks, HealthGrades chief executive officer. He added that such rates empower patients to make choices based on objective clinical outcomes and quality measures. “We commend Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital for its superior quality and support of consumerism and transparency.”

This fourth recognition for carotid surgery excellence marks top clinical ratings for all of the hospital’s main surgery lines – including HealthGrades’ Bariatric Surgery Excellence Award for the past three years, putting the hospital among the top 5% in the nation. Patients also give the surgical hospital accolades for its amenities, care and service; for the past four years, Fresno Heart & Surgical has earned the “Outstanding Patient Experience Award” from HealthGrades, a distinction only four California hospitals have achieved.

HealthGrades’ hospital ratings and awards are based on data that hospitals are required to submit to the federal government. No hospital can opt in or out of being rated, and no hospital pays to be rated. Because the risk profiles of patient populations at hospitals are not alike, data is risk-adjusted to allow for valid comparisons. The full study and recent hospital ratings are posted at www.healthgrades.com.

This story was reported by Erin Kennedy. She can be reached at MedWatchToday@CommunityMedical.org.