July 13, 2006


Media Contact: Ellen Simon

Phone: (941) 917-1499

Pager: (941) 252-8101


'U.S.News & World Report’ Again Ranks Sarasota Memorial Specialties Among Best in Nation


SARASOTA MEMORIAL HEALTH CARE SYSTEM – For the third consecutive year, U.S.News & World Report magazine has listed Sarasota Memorial in its prestigious “America’s Best Hospitals” issue, ranking the health system among the top 50 hospitals in the nation in six specialties for 2006.


The hospital is ranked 24th in the U.S. for heart and heart surgery, 30th for orthopedics, 50th for cancer care, 42nd for digestive disorders, 49th for gynecology and 44th for respiratory disorders.


Sarasota Memorial is ranked ahead of all other institutions listed for Florida in heart and heart surgery, orthopedics, respiratory disorders and gynecology.


Indeed, during an interview on CNN's July 8 Saturday Morning News program, Sarasota Memorial was singled out by U.S. News health editor Dr. Bernardine Healy, the former director of the National Institutes of Health, as an example of how patients may find superior quality and care close to home at their own community hospital.


In responding to a question from the CNN anchor about whether people who do not live near the top-ranked teaching institutions may still receive "innovative treatment," Dr. Healy cited Sarasota Memorial and its rankings in six different specialties as an example of "excellent care," saying that "a great tribute to American medicine is the diffusion of excellent quality from major teaching centers into community hospitals."


U.S. News assessed care in 16 medical specialties at more than 5,189 hospitals around the nation to calculate the rankings. The specialties were evaluated using a formula that includes mortality rates, reputation and a group of care-related factors such as nursing care and patient services. Only 176 hospitals scored high enough to earn a ranking in any specialty in 2006. Magnet status, the nation’s highest honor for excellence in nursing, also helped determine hospitals’ rankings. Sarasota Memorial currently is the only hospital in the region to earn Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.


“Sarasota Memorial is honored to be listed among a select group of distinguished institutions singled out for unsurpassed quality and expertise,” said CEO Gwen MacKenzie. “Earning numerous mentions in U.S. News for the third year in a row demonstrates our physicians’ and staff’s commitment to providing exceptional patient care. Our rankings reaffirm the fact that community members don’t have to go elsewhere to obtain the best health care in the nation — they have access to the most advanced medical treatments and technology right here in Sarasota.”


U.S. News’ mission is "to identify centers that take on and excel at tough procedures and conditions—rare cancers, worsening heart failure, seemingly untreatable leg-artery blockages," the magazine said in explaining its methodology.


According to U.S. News, which is publishing the rankings in its July 17 issue, “Most of the institutions ranked are referral centers, where the sickest patients are sent for advanced care. Such hospitals follow—and often pioneer—new treatment guidelines. They conduct bench-to-bedside research. And they exploit the latest advances in imaging, surgical devices, and other technologies.


Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is an 826-bed regional medical center and the only not-for-profit community hospital in the region. Among its many national honors, the health system has been named one of Solucient’s 100 top cardiovascular hospitals in the United States for four years in a row. For information, visit