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For Immediate Release:
June 6, 2012

Southcoast receives 2012 HealthGrades Patient Safety Excellence Award, marking third year in a row

Ranking in the top 5 percent of hospitals in the U.S.; one of six hospitals in Mass. to earn the award three years in a row


NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — Southcoast Hospitals Group announced today that it has been identified as a recipient of the 2012 HealthGrades Patient Safety Excellence Award™, ranking in the top 5 percent of all hospitals in the U.S. in patient safety by HealthGrades® for the third year in a row.

In a new study released by HealthGrades, the nation's most trusted source of health care provider information, Southcoast Hospitals was listed as one of just 12 hospitals in Massachusetts and the only hospital in the South Coast region to receive the prestigious HealthGrades Patient Safety Excellence Award.

"Southcoast continues to provide our patients with the safest and highest quality care available. Providing top quality care while creating the safest environment possible is our constant focus that resonates across all services across all Southcoast facilities," said Keith A. Hovan, President & CEO of Southcoast Health System and Southcoast Hospitals Group. "This award recognizes the great care Southcoast employees provide to our patients each and every day."

Southcoast was one of only 12 hospitals in Massachusetts to rank in the top 5 percent in the U.S. in patient safety and only one of six hospitals in Massachusetts to receive the designation three years in a row, according to HealthGrades.

Patients at hospitals in the top 5 percent experienced 48 percent fewer patient safety incidents, on average, compared to poorly performing hospitals, according to HealthGrades. If all hospitals performed at this level, HealthGrades estimated that 254,000 patient safety incidents and 56,367 deaths among Medicare patients could have been avoided.

"From improving communication to implementing protocols to make surgery safer, hospitals across the country are working harder to reduce preventable patient safety events. The results of these efforts are clear among this year's HealthGrades Patient Safety Excellence Award hospitals," said Kristin Reed, MPH, Vice President of Hospital Quality Programs at HealthGrades and author of the study. "Hospitals like Southcoast Hospitals Group are not only setting the bar for high standards of patient safety but also serving as an example for other hospitals."

The ninth annual HealthGrades Patient Safety in American Hospitals study analyzed nearly 40 million hospitalization records from approximately 5,000 hospitals nationwide that participate in the Medicare program. Participation in the HealthGrades study is not voluntary and hospitals cannot choose to opt out of the analysis.

HeathGrades used Medicare inpatient data from the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) database and Patient Safety Indicator software from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to calculate event rates for 13 indicators of patient safety for all of the nation's hospitals. All analysis was based on data from 2008 to 2010. These indicators identify the best-performing hospitals, or Patient Safety Excellence Award™ Hospitals, which represent the top 5 percent of all U.S. hospitals. HealthGrades developed this award to give patients more information about choosing a hospital.

Stephanie Poyant
Public Information Officer
Phone: 508-961-5280
Pager: 508-387-2532
Fax: 508-961-5876

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Southcoast Health System is a community based health delivery system with multiple access points, offering an integrated continuum of health services throughout Southeastern Massachusetts and East Bay, Rhode Island.

It includes the three hospitals that make up Southcoast Hospitals Group — Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford and Tobey Hospital in Wareham.

Southcoast provides advanced clinical services, such as open heart surgery, angioplasty and heart rhythm services, comprehensive cancer care, neurosurgery, weight loss surgery, orthopedic surgery, advanced imaging services and is the only provider of maternity services in the region.

Southcoast is a not-for-profit charitable organization that depends on the support of the community to provide services. More information is available online at Connect to Southcoast through social media at

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