Three Essentia Health hospitals ranked among best in country by CMS

August 01, 2023  By: Unknown

Fargo Clinic

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released 2023 ratings for health care facilities as part of its Care Compare program, and Essentia Health’s remarkable performance is reflective of the expert and compassionate care we provide across our service area.

Three of our hospitals earned a five-star rating — the highest possible score. Essentia Health-Fargo, Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center and Essentia Health-Duluth are among the most highly ranked hospitals in the nation.

Of the more than 4,600 hospitals rated nationwide by CMS, only about 10.4% garnered five stars.

Essentia Health-Fargo is one of just two hospitals in North Dakota with a five-star rating. Likewise, St. Mary’s Medical Center and Essentia Health-Duluth are the only five-star hospitals in Northeastern Minnesota. This is the second consecutive year St. Mary’s received the highest score.

“We are fortunate to work with so many excellent clinicians whose commitment to our mission and values is exhibited every day,” said Dr. Richard Vetter, chief medical officer and interim president of Essentia’s West Market. “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to them for sharing their calling to care for our patients and our communities while making a healthy difference in people’s lives.”

Added Dr. Bill Heegaard, president of Essentia’s East Market: “First and foremost, thank you to our exceptional teams and colleagues whose commitment to providing the highest quality health care in the communities we are privileged to serve shines brightly with these results. The outstanding CMS ratings for St. Mary’s Medical Center and Essentia Health-Duluth demonstrate our ongoing commitment to continuously improving our patients’ and communities’ health and safety.”


Adding to our stellar showing, Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd and Essentia Health St. Mary’s-Detroit Lakes received four-star ratings. A four-star score signifies a better-than-average performance compared to similar health care facilities and places these two hospitals in the top 27% of the more than 4,600 ranked nationwide.

“This four-star rating from CMS is a direct reflection of our commitment to providing the highest-quality care for patients in Detroit Lakes and the surrounding communities,” said Tanner Goodrich, senior vice president of operations for Essentia in Detroit Lakes. “We are so proud of this recognition, which is a credit to my colleagues at Essentia Health St. Mary’s-Detroit Lakes, who go above and beyond to fulfill our mission of making a healthy difference in people’s lives.”

Added Todd DeFreece, Essentia’s senior vice president of operations for Essentia in Brainerd: “Our four-star rating is reflective of the tireless efforts by our providers and staff to provide ever more exceptional care to the communities of central Minnesota. While we don’t focus on awards or recognition, the star rating validates our efforts to constantly improve the quality and experience of the care we offer. Our physicians, providers and staff in the Brainerd Lakes area deserve the recognition for the amazing care they provide every day.”

CMS’ ratings are based on how well a hospital performs across different areas of quality, like the patient experience, providing timely and effective care, readmission rates, mortality and safety. 

You can find the ratings for a variety of facilities on the Medicare Compare website.

CMS’ Care Compare website is one tool patients can use to research high-quality care. When making health care decisions, patients should use all the tools at their disposal, such as talking with friends and family as well as consulting with doctors, nurses and other trusted providers.

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