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News Room: ENQUIRER: St. Elizabeth Edgewood ranked No. 1 Ky. hospital

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By: Paul McKibben, Mark Hansel and Jennifer Edwards Baker

St. Elizabeth Edgewood is ranked No. 1 in Kentucky for the first time in the annual U.S. News & World Report hospital rankings released Tuesday.

The hospital ranked No. 4 in the state last year.

St. Elizabeth Edgewood also ranked fourth in Greater Cincinnati. It was No. 3 in the metropolitan area in 2012. St. Elizabeth Florence and St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas were tied for eighth in the Cincinnati metro area and in Kentucky.

John Dubis, president and CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare, said the recognition shows the organization’s commitment to improving the patient experience.

“The real key is that we have focused specifically on quality for the last 13 years,” Dubis said. “We’ve made a very conscious effort to improve the quality throughout our health care system and that’s the reason we have received the recognitions that we have.”

The Greater Cincinnati market is home to 38 hospitals. In Northern Kentucky, St. Elizabeth Healthcare owns all of them. St. Elizabeth completed a merger with St. Luke Hospitals in October 2008 and now has 7,423 employees.

In Kentucky, St. Elizabeth Edgewood’s No. 1 ranking means that it surpassed the nationally recognized University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital in Lexington. Last Friday officials announced that UK’s Markey Cancer Center is the state’s first National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. It is among 67 centers in the United States with that designation.

Kristi Lopez, director of medical center public relations for the University of Kentucky, said the St. Elizabeth Edgewood ranking and the Markey Cancer Center designation demonstrate the high quality of health care available in the state.

“As a leading academic medical center dedicated to providing the most complex and advanced subspecialty care, UK Chandler Hospital continues to be among the best places for high-quality patient care in Kentucky,” Lopez said.

Dubis said the decision to become part of the Mayo Clinic Care Network last November raised the profile of St. Elizabeth Healthcare and provided another example of the commitment to improved patient care.

“We truly have the mantra of making the patient the center of our universe, and Mayo has exactly the same philosophy, which is why it was such a nice match,” Dubis said.

“That was our next step in the quality improvement journey. Having that Mayo Clinic connection gives our patients the advantage of receiving great care by local physicians, but we also have the best experts in the world available to have their health care needs addressed.”

Dr. Lynne Saddler, district director of the Northern Kentucky Health Department, said the hospital’s ranking speaks well for the region’s health-care system. “Health-care providers link together to form a larger system, including doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and public health departments,” Saddler said. “Recent accolades … show Northern Kentuckians that they have access to quality health care and community-based preventive health services which improves the quality of life in our region.”

The Northern Kentucky Health Department is among the first in the country to receive an accreditation that ranks it among the highest performing public health agencies in the United States.

U.S. News & World Report said it determined the rankings by analyzing data from nearly 5,000 hospitals.

Carol Cronin, executive director of the Maryland-based Informed Patient Institute, said that such rankings are increasingly valuable for hospitals and patients.

“Hospitals care about their reputation in the community, and if they are highly ranked, they also advertise it,” Cronin said.

“U.S. News & World Report has been doing this for a while, and they’ve evolved their methodology from being primarily based on reputation, which was drawn from doctors’ experiences but not a lot of hard data,” Cronin said. “As the data has become available from the federal and state governments, they’ve incorporated that into their methodology.”

The Informed Patient Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides access to online information about health care quality and patient safety.

St. Elizabeth Fort Thomas ranked seventh in Cincinnati and sixth in Kentucky. St. Elizabeth Florence was eighth in Cincinnati and seventh in Kentucky. The Fort Thomas and Florence hospitals are smaller than the Edgewood facility by number of beds. Edgewood has 510 beds, Florence has 170 and Fort Thomas has 194.

This is the 24th year U.S. News & World Report has released its rankings. Overall, Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore was ranked the No. 1 facility in the nation.

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