Study Ranks St. Francis Emergency Care in Top Five Percent

By: From 13 News
By: From 13 News

TOPEKA -- Emergency medicine at St. Francis Health Center is among the top 5 percent in the nation, according to an independent study of patient outcomes released for the first time by HealthGrades, the nation’s leading independent rating agency that studies hospitals, physicians and nursing homes for quality of care.

St. Francis Health Center was one of just 255 of the nation’s hospitals in the top 5 percent and identified as a recipient of the HealthGrades 2010 Emergency Medicine Excellence Award. It is the only Topeka hospital to receive the honor, and one of only three in Kansas.

This first annual HealthGrades Emergency Medicine in American Hospitals Study examined more than 5 million Medicare records of patients admitted through the emergency department of 4,907 short-term, acute-care hospitals from 2006 to 2008 and identified hospitals that performed in the top 5 percent in the nation in emergency medicine.

The study’s analysis is based on risk-adjusted mortality outcomes for patients admitted through the emergency department for 11 of the most common life-threatening diagnoses in the Medicare population. If all hospital performed at the level of the top 5 percent, then 118,014 individuals could have potentially survived their emergency hospitalization.

Comparing the group of hospitals in the top 5 percent with all others, the study found that the group had a 39 percent lower risk-adjusted mortality rate. These top-performing hospitals improved their outcomes over the years 2006 through 2008 at a faster rate than all other hospitals, 16 percent compared with 10 percent.

As will all HealthGrades studies of hospital quality, all data comes from governmental sources, and no hospital can opt in or out of being rated. A full copy of the study can be found at

Annually, 119 million individuals visit an emergency department, but the number of emergency departments has been decreasing, leading to overcrowding and significant challenges for the hospitals that operate them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Half of hospital admissions now begin with hospital emergency departments, up from 36 percent in 1996,” said Rick May, M.D., a vice president with HealthGrades and co-author of the study, quoting a recent CDC report. “With more individuals expected to visit emergency departments, this HealthGrades study should prove to be a valuable resource for both hospitals and patients in that it identifies hospitals that are the nation’s quality leaders in emergency medical care.”

The most common causes for admission through the emergency department by Medicare patients over the three years studied were pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and sepsis. The highest inhospital mortality rates were among patients with primary diagnosis of sepsis, respiratory failure or heart attack.

The 11 conditions examined in the study are:
Bowel obstruction
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Diabetic acidosis and coma
Gastrointestinal bleed
Heart attack
Pulmonary embolism
Respiratory failure

HealthGrades is the leading independent health care ratings organization, providing quality ratings, profiles and cost information on the nation’s hospitals, physicians, nursing homes and prescription drugs. Millions of patients and many of the nation’s largest employers, health plans and hospitals rely on HealthGrades’ quality ratings, advisory services and decision-support resources. More information can be found at

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