What 5-star Means Key findings of the HealthGrades 2011 Healthcare Consumerism and Hospital Quality in America report: Hospitals that are 5-star rated have risk adjusted mortality or complication rates that are among the lowest in the country. To put it simply, people are more likely to have successful treatment without major complications, on average, at hospitals in this category. On average, patients had a 73% lower risk of dying in a 5-star rated hospital compared to a 1-star rated hospital, and a 54% lower risk of dying in a 5-star rated hospital compared to the national average. On average, patients were 63% less likely to experience inhospital complications than patients at 1-star programs, and had a 43% lower chance of developing an inhospital complication than the national average. If all Medicare patients from 2008 through 2010 had been treated at 5-star hospitals, 240,040 lives could have potentially been saved. If all Medicare patients from 2008 through 2010 had gone to 5-star hospitals for their procedure, 164,472 inhospital complications could have potentially been avoided. HealthGrades' Methodology: HealthGrades analyzed the most current publicly available Medicare data from 2008, 2009 and 2010 to develop its 2012 ratings. Hospitals were evaluated solely on clinical outcomes. This analysis includes all 5,000 hospitals in the United States that treat Medicare patients and covers approximately 40 million Medicare discharges. Medicare is the only publicly available data source for all hospitals. Past performance is the best predictor of future performance. HealthGrades rates every nonfederal hospital in the country. No hospitals pay for the ratings and hospitals cannot opt in or opt out of being rated. Ratings for all hospitals not affiliated with the federal government (such as the VA system) are available for free at www.healthgrades.com Risk-adjusted mortality and complication rates were calculated and hospitals were assigned a 5-star (best), 3-star (as expected), or a 1-star (poor) quality rating for 27 procedures and diagnoses from heart failure to hip replacement to pneumonia. When a hospital achieves a 5-star rating in any time period, they are an outlier and are in the top 10-15% of the nation. What This Means to the Brazos Valley: Consumers have choices and should do their research before checking into a hospital. St. Joseph's excellent care stands out in our area, in our state and nationally. Locals should feel good knowing a hospital rated 5-star in many procedures is available in their neighborhood. In addition, St. Joseph's reputation for medical excellence is spreading beyond the Brazos Valley. Over the last several years, around 15% of our joint replacement patients travelled to St. Joseph from outside the Brazos Valley or even out-of-state. On average, these non-local hip or knee-replacement patients bring in around $1.6 million to St. Joseph every year. St. Joseph's joint replacement program, Joint University, requires patients to bring a "coach" to help them through the four-day hospital stay and recovery process. These coaches stay in local hotels, eat out and shop here, contributing even more to our local economy. "More and more patients are taking the time to do research and are looking for programs with consistently good outcomes," said Tony Pfitzer, President and CEO of St. Joseph. "Local patients who have had joint replacement and spine surgery at St. Joseph are also referring friends and family to us who are considering those surgeries. These rankings by HealthGrades continue to affirm what our former patients say about the excellent care they received."