A new study ranks Chattanooga as one of the nation's best metropolitan areas for hospital care.
Healthgrades, a Denver-based provider of consumer information on physicians and hospitals, said Tuesday that Memorial hospital in Chattanooga and Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, Ga., were among the best U.S. hospitals, as measured by the outcomes on 26 different medical procedures and diagnoses.
With two of the region's five major hospitals on Healthgrades' list of "distinguished hospitals for clinical excellence," Chattanooga was rated as the seventh best city in America for overall hospital care. The next highest rated city in Tennessee was Knoxville at No. 20 and the best city in Georgia was Atlanta ranked 50th.
"Hopefully, this recognition will help more people realize that you really don't have to leave Chattanooga to get the best health care," said Melissa Roden, vice president of quality for the Memorial Healthcare System. "We've been able as a region to recruit some amazing physicians and we've been able to attract new technology to keep us on the cutting edge."
Roden noted that Memorial was the first hospital in Tennessee to recently perform a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement. The newly FDA-approved technology allows the replacement of an aortic valve with only a small incision in the upper thigh, rather than open heart surgery.
Memorial and Hamilton hospitals ranked among the top 5 percent of U.S. hospitals for the best outcomes from hospital surgeries and treatments. Healthgrades said the best-rated hospitals had a 30 percent lower risk-adjusted mortality rate and an average of nearly 2 percent lower risk-adjusted hospital complications compared to all other hospitals.
"We look at patient discharge records over three years and adjust the results for the acuity of the patient's illness or injury to make what we believe is the best comparison among hospitals," said Marsha Austin, director of corporate communications for HealthGrades.