Area hospitals win top spots for service 

Two Peninsula hospitals — including one involved in a strike last week — were honored as being among the elite in the country this week by the largest nationwide study of its kind.

Mills-Peninsula Health Services in Burlingame and San Mateo finished in the top 5 percent in the United States for stroke care, critical care and general surgery, as well as gastrointestinal services, surgery and medical treatment.

Officials for Mills, which is coming off failed negotiation talks with the California Nurses Association that led to a two-day strike last week, said the honor was validation for its services. One of the CNA’s arguments was that Mills and other Sutter Health facilities involved in the strike were making cuts to patient services.

"This means a lot, especially on the heals of the nursing strike," said Mills Vice President of Human Resources Debbie Goodin. "To have that reputation sullied by union activity was very troubling to us."

HealthGrades, which examined 41 million Medicare hospitalization records provided by hospitals to the federal government, conducted the annual study, said spokesman Scott Shapiro. It studied virtually all 5,000 hospitals in the nation by examining 33 procedures and treatment categories and ranked them based on mortality and complication rates among patients.

Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City also received high marks. It finished in the top 10 percent in the country for cardiac care and cardiac surgery. It also ranked highest in California for coronary interventional procedures. It, too, was ranked in the top 5 percent of the country for cardiac care.

"The patient knows they’ll get the best possible care when it’stheir life that they’re entrusting to us," said Sequoia President Glenna Vaskelis.

More people are beginning to research online what hospitals to go to, said Vaskelis, Goodin and Shapiro. In the past, most patients would simply take a recommendation from their physician, but lists like these help patients independently decide where to receive care, they said.

And the rankings are significant, Shapiro said. HealthGrades found that mortality rates at the top ranked hospitals were on average 71 percent lower than the bottom hospitals.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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