Boca Raton Regional Hospital made the list: it’s one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals for 2014.  The distinction, awarded by Healthgrades, puts the local hospital in the top one percent of hospitals in the country.

The third-party quality rating organization looks at the rates of death, complications and other quality measures of hospitals nationwide. To earn a place on the America's 50 Best Hospitals’ list, a hospital has to have death and complication rates low enough to place them in the top five percent of hospitals in America for the last seven consecutive years.

Healthgrades looked at nearly 4,500 hospitals of various sizes, focusing on 27 of the most common diagnoses and procedures done in the Medicare population. People are far more likely to die or suffer complications at hospitals receiving the lowest Healthgrades’ ratings, according to the organization’s press release.

While this is good news for local patients, it’s important to note that the information, so far, is from press materials. Press materials tend to focus on the good, so I went to Healthgrades.com and looked up Boca Raton Regional Hospital. I found that, while the hospital shines in some areas, there is room for improvement in others.

When it came to defibrillator procedures, back and neck surgeries and hip replacements, Boca Raton Regional Hospital earned “worse than expected” ratings in complication rates.

On the other hand, the hospital had low death rates (in hospital or within 30 days) after heart attack, heart failure, colorectal surgeries, bowel obstruction and sepsis. In many areas, the hospital came up with average ratings. What does this mean? Be your own advocate. If you’re about to have surgery, do research on the particular procedure.

In the case of Healthgrades, all you have to do is go to www.healthgrades.com, go to hospitals and select or key in Boca Raton Regional Hospital. You’ll find all the results I reported in there.

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About Lisette

Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has had the luxury of reporting on health, fitness and other hot topics for more than 23 years. The longtime Boca Raton resident, University of Florida graduate and fitness buff writes for local, regional and national publications and websites.

Find out more on www.wordscomealive.com.