Saint Alphonsus Medical Center in Ontario. (Submitted photo)

ONTARIO – Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario is providing some of the best care in the country, earning a ranking as a Top 100 hospital.

The results of the annual study, done since 1993 by IBM Watson Health of Massachusetts, determined that the Ontario hospital, which employs about 350, was the only small community hospital in Oregon to qualify.

And the hospital’s parent, Saint Alphonsus Health System, ranked as a Top 15 Health System. St. Luke’s Health System also was rated as a Top 15.

The designations follow a detailed, independent examination of each hospital and health system’s care of patients, operations and financial health. A total of 2,675 hospitals were evaluated, according to the Watson Health report.

“This high honor tells the story about the care and dedication our colleagues pour into their work each day,” said Dina Ellwanger, president and chief nursing officer at the Ontario hospital. “They truly have the patients’ best interest at heart, so they strive for excellence on a consistent basis.”

This is the first time the 49-bed Ontario hospital made the list.

Only one other Oregon hospital, classified as a large community hospital, was Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford.

Saint Alphonsus Health System also operates hospitals in Baker City, Nampa and Boise.

“This is a testament to the dedication, hard work and commitment of our colleagues throughout the health system, including in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Odette Bolano, health system president and CEO. “I couldn’t be prouder of how everyone rolled up their sleeves, adapted to trying circumstances and never lost sight of our mission.”

St. Luke’s officials had similar reactions.

“Every single member of our frontline staff is a true hero for what they’ve done this year in the face of increased personal risk,” said Dr. Bart Hill, St. Luke’s vice president and chief quality officer. “They are a safety net for our community and being named a national leader validates the high standards they set out to achieve every day for our patients.”

Watson Health explained in its study that those picked to be in the Top 100 are considered leaders for other hospitals to follow.

“Providing these measures of successful performance may be especially important today as

the healthcare landscape continues to evolve from fee-for-service toward value-based care

models,” its report said.

“The performance levels achieved by these hospitals may motivate their peers to use data, analytics, and benchmarks to close performance gaps,” the report continued.

Watson Health projected the difference in U.S. health if all hospitals performed as Saint Alphonsus and other top-rated systems. It estimated that more than 79,000 lives could be saved in hospitals, the typical patient could go home a half day earlier, and costs could be cut by $10 billion.

News tip? Contact editor Les Zaitz at [email protected]

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