The local hospital received "top performer" status in one of eight categories audited by a nationally recognized nonprofit.
Memorial Hospital, Los Banos was named one of the nation's 620 top performers on "key quality measures" by the Joint Commission, a nonprofit organization that accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. The hospital, recognized for pneumonia care, was the only one in Merced County named as a top performer.
Richard Liszewski, chief executive officer, said this is an important recognition because "pneumonia is a major reason for hospitalizations in our area."
"Our doctors and staff have worked hard to deliver such quality care for our pneumonia patients," Liszewski said, in a news release. "Hopefully, this achievement is not only a source of pride but also one of security for our community."
The ratings are based on several types of accountability and measure data reported to the Joint Commission during 2011. The list of top performers increased by 50 percent from its debut last year and represents 18 percent of accredited hospitals reporting data.
The seven categories other than pneumonia were heart attack, heart failure, surgical care, children's asthma, stroke, venous thromboembolism and inpatient psychiatric services.
The hospital is one of 244 on the list to make it two years in a row. In 2010, Memorial Hospital, Los Banos was top performer in pneumonia and surgical care.
Top performers are dubbed so by meeting two 95 percent thresholds. The hospitals must achieve a 95 percent on a single composite score, including accountability measures, and a 95 on each individual measure.
Each accountability measure represents an evidence-based practice -- for example, giving aspirin at arrival for heart attack patients, giving antibiotics one hour before surgery and providing a home management plan for children with asthma.
Mark R. Chassin, the president of the Joint Commission, said hospitals respond well when the bar for service is raised.
"Such day-to-day progress will slowly but surely transform today's health care system into one that achieves unprecedented performance outcomes for the benefit of the patients," Chassin said, in the release.
The report is available at www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/18/TJC_
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at email@example.com.