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Published on October 20, 2010

Owensboro Health Scores Trifecta of Top Rankings

Ranked #1 in Kentucky for Joint Replacement Surgery, Critical Care and Medical Treatment of Gastrointestinal Issues 

OWENSBORO, Ky (October 20, 2010) – Owensboro Health is ranked number one in Kentucky in three separate specialty areas according to a comprehensive annual study released today by HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings organization. Owensboro Health is the top ranked hospital in the state for: 1) joint replacement surgery such as total knee replacements; 2) critical care which includes treating high acuity patients with diagnoses such as sepsis (infection of the blood) and respiratory failure; and 3) medical treatment of gastrointestinal issues such as bowel obstruction. The hospital is ranked number two in the state for cardiac surgery, and number three for cardiology. The HealthGrades study analyzes tens of millions of patients’ outcomes – specifically, mortality and complication rates – at the nation’s 5,000 hospitals.

Owensboro Health scored highly in several other specialty areas, according to the study, including ranking among the top five percent of hospitals nationally for pulmonary care (such as treating pneumonia), and treatment of patients in the hospital’s intensive care unit for ailments such as pulmonary embolism. Due to the hospital’s outcomes treating Medicare patients over a three year period from 2007 – 2009 in these areas, the study names Owensboro Health as a recipient of the following awards:

  • Critical Care Excellence Award™
  • Pulmonary Care Excellence Award™

Patients highly value independent information on hospital quality performance. And in light of recent health reform measures, demand for this information is only likely to increase. In a recent survey of visitors to related to hospital quality, 94% ranked quality outcomes and ratings as very important compared to reputation (89%), volume (78%), and location (58%). Owensboro Healthhas created a culture of quality and transparency and is proud of the results that it has achieved across a wide variety of specialty areas.  

Dr. Robert Schell, a general and vascular surgeon and chair of the Owensboro Health Board of Directors Quality and Safety Committee says that the board leads efforts to keep quality a primary focus. “Evidence shows that outcomes are better in hospitals where the board spends more than 25 percent of its time on quality and safety,” Schell says. “We address quality issues first at each board meeting.” 


Robert Schell

Robert Schell, M.D.

"Evidence shows that outcomes are better in hospitals where the board spends more than 25 percent of its time on quality and safety."

The Owensboro Health Board Quality and Safety Committee oversees the clinical and patient safety initiatives at the hospital. It is comprised of physician and lay members from the board as well as physicians from the hospital’s medical staff. The group works closely with hospital administrators to develop quality goals and measure outcomes of improvement initiatives.


According to the Thirteenth Annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America study top-rated hospitals had a 53% lower mortality rate than the U.S. national average for 17 procedures and diagnoses ranging from bypass surgery to treatment for heart attack. When the top-rated hospitals were compared to the poorest performers, there was an even greater quality gap: a 72% lower risk of mortality. 

The new 2011 HealthGrades hospital ratings were posted today, and are free to the public, at

HealthGrades’ hospital ratings and awards reflect the track record of patient outcomes at hospitals in the form of mortality and complication rates. HealthGrades rates hospitals independently based on data that hospitals submit to the federal government. No hospital can opt in or out of being rated.

For 26 procedures and treatments, HealthGrades issues star ratings that reflect the mortality and complication rates for each category of care. Hospitals receiving a 5-star rating have mortality or complication rates that are below the national average, to a statistically significant degree. A 3-star rating means the hospital performs as expected. One-star ratings indicate the hospital’s mortality or complication rates in that procedure or treatment are statistically higher than average. Because the risk profiles of patient populations at hospitals are not alike, HealthGrades risk-adjusts the data to allow for equal comparisons.

According the new study, Owensboro Health is five-star rated in the following areas:

  • Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery
  • Treatment of Heart Attack
  • Treatment of Heart Failure
  • Treatment of Pneumonia
  • Treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Treatment of Sepsis (infection of the blood stream)
  • Treatment of Pulmonary Embolism (blood clot in the lungs)
  • Treatment of Respiratory Failure
  • Treatment of Bowel Obstruction
  • Treatment of Gastrointestinal Bleed
  • Total Knee Replacement Surgery
  • Back and Neck Surgery with Spinal Fusion
  • Joint Replacement Surgery
  • Overall Critical Care
  • Overall Pulmonary Services

Owensboro Health is one of only 16 hospitals nationally, and the only one in Kentucky, to receive all of the following awards:

  • HealthGrades 2010 Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence™ - for overall clinical quality
  • HealthGrades 2010 Patient Safety Excellence Award™ - for patient safety, avoiding medical errors
  • HealthGrades 2010/2011Outstanding Patient Experience Award™ - for patient satisfaction

More information on today’s HealthGrades study, including the complete methodology, can be found at

About Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health is a nonprofit health system with a mission to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities it serves in Kentucky and Indiana. The system includes Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, nationally recognized for design, architecture and engineering and the only hospital in the world to be designated a Signature Sanctuary by Audubon International, Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital, the One Health medical group comprising over 180 providers in 25 locations, a certified medical fitness facility, and the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center. Owensboro Health has been recognized for outstanding care, safety and clinical excellence by The Joint Commission, Healthgrades, U.S. News & World Report and Becker’s Hospital Review. As the largest employer west of Louisville, Owensboro Health has 4,088 employees, and in FY 2015 saw 18,380 inpatient admissions and 823,072 outpatient encounters. A committed community partner, Owensboro Health provided grants of $702,924 in the last year to health, social service, education and arts agencies across the region. For more information, visit

Media Contact

Rachael Frey


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