Southwest Florida hospitals earn distinction among top 250 hospitals nationwide

Liz Freeman
Naples Daily News

Southwest Florida hospitals are among the top 250 hospitals in the U.S., according to the latest rankings by Healthgrades.

Lee Health’s four hospitals in Lee County and the two hospitals owned by the NCH Healthcare System in Collier County earned the recognition for quality and patient outcomes, according to the independent ranking firm.

That places the hospitals in the top 5% of 4,500 hospitals nationwide that were evaluated based on clinical outcomes for 32 medical conditions and procedures.

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The Lee Health hospitals are Lee Memorial Hospital, HealthPark Medical Center, Gulf Coast Medical Center and Cape Coral Hospital.

Cape Coral ranked higher and is among the top 100 hospitals, which means it ranks in the top 2% nationwide, according to Healthgrades.

The conditions and procedures used in the evaluation include heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, respiratory failure, sepsis and stroke. Healthgrades used Medicare data from 2017 to 2019 to conduct its analysis.

Larry Antonucci

Patients treated at any of the best 250 hospitals have a 27% lower risk of dying than if they were treated at a hospital that is not a top performer, according to Healthgrades.

The publicly-operated Lee Health is the largest healthcare system in Southwest Florida, with 13,500 employees and more than 1.5 million patient contacts each year.

In addition to the four adult care hospitals, Lee Health operates Golisano Children’s Hospital and a rehabilitation hospital with a combined 1,812 beds. Lee Health’s annual operating budget is $2 billion.

The nonprofit NCH is privately run and is the dominate hospital system in Collier with 4,300 employees.

Paul Hiltz has been chosen as NCH Healthcare System's next CEO.

It operates NCH Baker Hospital and North Naples Hospital with a combined 713 beds that earned the recognition from Healthgrades. NCH reported $632 million in total revenue for the year ending Sept. 30, 2020.

Officials with both Southwest Florida systems lauded the commitment of their health care teams for the recognition.

“This achievement is a testament to the extraordinary care that our amazing team provides and the lasting contribution they are having on the community’s health through achieving excellent outcomes,” Dr. Larry Antonucci, president and CEO of Lee Health, said in a news release.

Paul Hiltz, president and CEO of NCH, said the hospital team is committed to providing an exceptional patient experience, which led NCH to the distinction from Healthgrades.

“NCH has always prided itself on delivering quality healthcare to our community,” Hiltz said.

NCH Healthcare System CEO Paul Hiltz speaks during a press conference, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, at NCH Baker Hospital, Telford Auditorium.

Statewide, 14 hospital systems were named among the top 250 hospitals nationwide in the latest report.

Hospitals that earned the distinction have a "patient-centered mindset" that engages patients and their families and have created goals to achieve consistently good outcomes, according to Healthgrades.

In addition, the best hospitals recognize all employees have a stake in improving care and have the “courage to identify what isn’t working and removing obstacles that prevent quality improvement,” according to Healthgrades.