An independent study published today by HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings organization, analyzed patient outcomes at all hospitals in 19 states that perform bariatric surgeries and found that Memorial Hospital ranked in the top 10% in terms of quality of care for the fifth year in a row.

The fifth annual HealthGrades Bariatric Surgery Trends in American Hospitals Study examined major complication rates at 684 hospitals that performed bariatric surgery over the years 2006, 2007 and 2008 – nearly 200,000 procedures – using data from 19 states that provide the data. Of those hospitals, 481 had volumes high enough to be rated. Memorial Hospital was one of 48 hospitals ranked in the nation’s top 10% and, as a result, received the 2010/2011 HealthGrades Bariatric Surgery Excellence Award™.

Memorial Hospital is the only facility in Jacksonville to receive this designation.

“We are the best in our area at what we do,” said Memorial Hospital President and CEO James Wood. “Our surgeons and their support staff are changing lives for the better every day. Our patients know that. These independent numbers prove it.” 

Bariatric surgery volumes have risen dramatically over the last decade as it has proven to be an effective treatment for morbid obesity, reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.

The HealthGrades study compared Memorial Hospital and other top-performing hospitals to average hospitals and found that patients experienced, on average, 43% fewer complications and left the hospital 10% faster. If all hospitals performed at the level of top-performing hospitals over the study years, 5,046 patients could have potentially avoided a major in hospital complication, the study found. In addition, bariatric surgery patients at top-performing hospitals spent an average of 2.00 days in the hospital, compared with 2.21 days and 2.48 days for average and poorly performing hospitals, respectively.

“This study shows, quite dramatically, that for bariatric surgery, it is important for patients to evaluate hospitals using objective information as they make their choice,” said Rick May, MD, a vice president with HealthGrades and a co-author of the study.

The fifth annual HealthGrades Bariatric Surgery Trends in American Hospitals Study is available at