For the second time in five years, Berkshire Medical Center has received the Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence from Healthgrades -- a rating that means the hospital is in the top 5 percent for patient care among more than 4,500 hospitals nationwide.
For the 2013 award, Healthgrades evaluated the hospital's clinical performance records from 2009 through 2011 and determined BMC is in the upper echelon of hospitals, with a 30.9 percent lower risk in mortality rates across 18 common conditions and procedures for which patients are admitted to the hospital. Healthgrades, a provider of information about physicians and hospitals, also recognized BMC with the award in 2009.
"Berkshire Medical Center is one of 262 hospitals named this year that stand out above the rest for their overall clinical care across a broad spectrum of care," said Evan Marks, an executive vice president with Healthgrades. "While many hospitals have specific areas of expertise and high-quality outcomes in certain areas, these hospitals exhibit comprehensive, high-quality care across multiple clinical specialties."
Berkshire Health Systems' chief quality officer, Dr. Gray Ellrodt, said that the recognition was a validation of a process that started in 2000 to improve "average services" and go "above and beyond." With the recognition, Ellrodt said patients can feel confident they'll be well-treated when it comes to their care at BMC.
"National honors like these are important, but not just for awards," said David E. Phelps, president and CEO of Berkshire Health Systems, BMC's parent company. "For BMC, these recognitions represent years of commitment to excellence on the part of our physicians, clinicians and staff. For patients we serve, these recognitions represent objective confirmation that we are continuing to offer exceptional quality and they can feel confident that they are receiving the highest quality care, close to home."
BMC received marks of "better than expected," Healthgrades' highest patient-outcome rating, for heart attack, heart failure, sepsis, stroke and pneumonia, among others. Elsewhere, the hospital achieved "as expected" ratings in appendectomy, pulmonary embolism, and diabetic acidosis and coma, among others.
BMC received a below-average rating for instances of collapsed lung and preventing abdominal incision sites. Ellrodt said there have been no deaths in the last several years associated with a collapsed lungs, and the hospital has a new comprehensive training program and ultra-sound guidance system being used to guide invasive procedures that risk collapsing a lung. Nine Massachusetts hospitals are recognized this year, which puts the state among the upper echelon of state-recognized hospitals.