Kaweah Health named among America’s 100 Best Hospitals

Healthgrades’ awards Kaweah Health a distinction that launches them into the top 2% of hospitals delivering consistent clinical quality care

VISALIA – Kaweah Health’s distinction as a top-tier facility puts it among the top 20 hospitals in the state and only hospital in the San Joaquin Valley to earn top 100 honors in the nation.

Kaweah Health Medical Center (KHMC) made Healthgrades’ annual list of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for 2023. The distinction launches KHMC into the top 2% of hospitals delivering consistent clinical quality despite financial hurdles over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthgrades determines the nation’s best care facilities based on an analysis of patient outcome data from hospitals across the country. According to Gary Herbst, KHMC’s chief executive officer, the path towards perfection is an endless journey to get better as a facility that exists solely to care for the community. 

“This is the first time in our history that we’ve been named one of the best 100,” Herbst said in a statement. “I know we’re not perfect, but our team of incredible and dedicated people are committed to this community and that is something we are very passionate about.”

Kaweah Health’s top-tier status going into the new year is welcome news for a facility and industry  rocked by unprecedented circumstances stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Three months into the fiscal year 2022, Kaweah Health found themselves needing to increase revenue and trim expenses – $85 million by June 2023 – as part of national post-pandemic trends for hospitals. 

Last November, Herbst wrote a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom asking for funding to recuperate losses in revenue and avoid service cuts and layoffs. The letter detailed Kaweah Health’s financial hurdles that include skyrocketing contract labor expenses,  frozen reimbursement rates, rising costs of inflation and low patient intake. 

Still, Kaweah Health’s distinction by Healthgrade despite financial trouble suggests that the relationship between cost and quality in healthcare is not so black and white. In other words, spending more money doesn’t always mean better health. 

At its core, Healthgrades is an online database that provides information about physicians, hospitals and health care providers. For their annual distinctions, Healthgrades analyzes patient outcome data on more than 45 million Medicare medical claims records of the most recent three-year time period from 4,500 hospitals nationwide.

Looking at the merits that determine a top-quality facility, procedure performance in terms of complications and mortality rates are monitored. Potential risks such as pre-existing conditions that would complicate a procedure are also considered. Taken together, an expected outcome model can be created. Finally, by comparing actual outcomes to predicted outcomes, star ratings are awarded for outcomes that are either statistically higher or lower than expectations. 

“We’re proud to recognize Kaweah Health as one of America’s Best Hospitals for 2023,” said Brad MD, chief medical officer and Head of Data Science at Healthgrades. “As one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals, Kaweah Health consistently delivers better-than-expected outcomes for the patients in their community and is setting the bar for national standards.”

For an in-depth look at Kaweah Health’s performance measures used by Healthgates including a complete methodology for the process, visit www.healthgrades.com/quality/americasbesthospitals

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