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  • Avera McKennan is Rated the Top Hospital in South Dakota and Among the Top 5 Percent in the Nation

Published on January 15, 2013

Avera McKennan is Rated the Top Hospital in South Dakota and Among the Top 5 Percent in the Nation 

Sioux Falls, SD (Jan. 15, 2013) – Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center announced today that it has been named among the top 5 percent of nearly 4,500 hospitals nationwide for clinical performance as measured by Healthgrades, a leading provider of comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals.  By achieving this high level of performance, Avera McKennan has received Healthgrades’ prestigious Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence™.

As the only South Dakota hospital to receive the Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence, Avera McKennan is rated by Healthgrades as the best hospital in South Dakota for overall clinical excellence. In addition, Avera McKennan ranks as the No. 1 hospital in South Dakota for six medical specialties.

Nationally, if all hospitals performed at this level from 2009 through 2011, a total of 164,414 deaths could have potentially been prevented.  Healthgrades Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence as a group had an overall 30.9 percent lower risk adjusted mortality rate as compared to other hospitals that did not achieve the Distinguished Hospital for Clinical Excellence Award.   

“Clinical excellence has long been a top priority at Avera McKennan. To be named the best hospital in South Dakota and among the top 5 percent of hospitals in the nation is an extreme privilege and honor. We’re proud to be recognized for our high level of performance across a number of departments and specialties,” said Dr. Dave Kapaska, regional president and CEO at Avera McKennan. “This award is important validation that we always strive to provide the highest quality care for all our patients.”

The 262 recipient hospitals achieved their status by delivering overall clinical excellence across 20+ clinical procedures and specialties measured by Healthgrades for both risk-adjusted mortality and complication rates during and after a hospital stay.  Healthgrades analyzes data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) database and recipients on selected entirely based on clinical outcomes, risk adjusted to account for variations in patient acuity and procedural complexity.

The American Hospital Quality Outcomes 2013: Healthgrades Report to the Nation found that Americans spend more time researching a refrigerator than they do choosing a doctor or hospital, and that significant variation in outcomes can exist within a region, underlying the importance of researching hospitals and physicians prior to a hospitalization.  The analysis found that care quality is improving, but "substantial" quality disparities remain across states and within local service areas.

For example, in the Sioux Falls area, of the six hospitals evaluated for treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) care, there is wide variation in hospital performance – mortality rates – ranging from 0 percent on the low end to 17.6 percent on the high end.  Researching Sioux Falls hospitals on will reveal that Avera McKennan is the local and state leader in GI care, and the only hospital in the area ranked by Healthgrades as One of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for GI Care.

“Our analysis, unlike other hospital quality ratings or grades, is based solely on clinical outcomes data. We do not include any opinion surveys of doctors or patients, or any other subjective measures because they can lack in objectivity,” said Evan Marks, EVP Informatics and Strategy . “Healthgrades is also the only site that provides the ability to link the selection of a doctor to the hospital where they practice, giving the consumer the power to differentiate the likelihood of a better health outcome on the basis of the hospitals objective quality measures, such as mortality, complications, safety and patient satisfaction.”

For more information about Healthgrades, to download a full copy of the report or to get information about hospital and physician quality, visit: today.


About Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center

Avera McKennan is part of an integrated delivery network that includes Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., as well as 115 locations in more than 50 communities in four states. Our ministry, our people and our superior value distinguish Avera. We carry on the health care legacy of the Benedictine and Presentation Sisters, delivering care in an environment guided by our values of compassion, hospitality and stewardship. Avera McKennan is a member of Avera Health, a network which has over 13,000 employees and physicians, serving more than 300 locations and 100 communities in a five-state region. Inpatient, outpatient and clinic visits totaled nearly 2.5 million in the last year, a number equal to more than twice the population of the Avera service area. For more information about Avera McKennan, see our website at

Avera caregivers are supported by the resources and expertise of the region's largest health system. Management and other support services are provided through the Avera Central Office in Sioux Falls, S.D., and its five regional centers: Avera St. Luke's in Aberdeen, S.D.; Avera Queen of Peace in Mitchell, S.D.; Avera McKennan in Sioux Falls, S.D.; Avera Sacred Heart in Yankton, S.D.; and Avera Marshall in Marshall, Minn.


Healthgrades Hospital Quality Distinctions

Healthgrades evaluates hospital performance for over 4,500 hospitals across the nation  in 28 procedures and conditions annually. provides information on objective measures of hospital performance, which allows consumers  to compare their local hospitals online at . Healthgrades evaluates hospital performance for nearly every hospital in the nation;  no hospital can opt-in or opt-out of being evaluated, and no hospital pays to be evaluated. Mortality and complication rates are risk adjusted, which takes into account differing levels of severity of patient illness at different hospitals and allows for hospitals to be compared equally.


About Healthgrades

Healthgrades, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, is a leading provider of comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. More than 200 million consumers use the Healthgrades websites to select and communicate with physicians and hospitals that best meet their treatment needs.  Consumers are empowered  through use  of the Healthgrades proprietary information about clinical outcomes, satisfaction, safety, and health conditions to make more informed healthcare decisions and take action.  For more information please visit and