Published on January 29, 2020

Essentia Health receives prestigious Healthgrades awards

Award icon reads America's 100 Best Coronary Intervention 2020, Healthgrades

Highlighting its already-strong reputation for providing comprehensive heart and vascular care, Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center has been named one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Coronary Intervention by the company Healthgrades.

It’s one of several prestigious awards bestowed on the Duluth-based health care system. With close to 2,000 percutaneous coronary intervention centers across the U.S., St. Mary’s was ranked among the Top 5% in the Nation for Coronary Interventional Procedures. It also received a Coronary Intervention Excellence Award.

The accolades reflect a relentless focus on quality and safety, according to cardiologist Jason Schultz, who also heads the highly regarded transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program. St. Mary’s was designated a Five-Star Recipient for Valve Surgery, as well.

“It underscores our commitment to providing the highest-quality care and our team’s tireless quest for quality,” Dr. Schultz said. “That’s something that doesn’t happen overnight — it happens over time.”

Healthgrades “evaluates hospital quality for conditions and procedures based solely on clinical outcomes. … Our analysis is based on more than 45 million Medicare medical claims records for the most recent three-year time period available from nearly 4,500 hospitals nationwide.”


For the second year in a row, Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center is a Five-Star Recipient for Total Knee Replacement.

A five-star rating means that St. Mary’s performed at least 1.645 standard deviations above the norm for outcomes, including hospital-acquired complications. Orthopedic surgeon Brad Edgerton says two straight years of five-star recognition validates the best practices his team has implemented to ensure cohesion and consistency.

“There are the best ways to do certain things and there are shortcuts, and if you follow the best practices, your outcomes are going to be better,” Dr. Edgerton said. “Doing it the right way, or the best way, might take longer, but it benefits the patient.”

The St. Mary’s Joint Replacement Program starts prepping patients well in advance of surgery, then continues that relationship through recovery. It helps to manage patients’ expectations and give them the resources they need for a shorter hospital stay.

Additionally, surgeons in the Joint Replacement Program at St. Mary’s have their own respective specialties; they are experts on specific joints. That philosophy facilitates the best care possible.

“This practice allows us to provide better patient outcomes,” Dr. Edgerton said. “We want to provide world-class care in Duluth, and we’re doing it.”

St. Mary’s also is a Five-Star Recipient for Colorectal Surgeries. The award is a testament to the team’s patient-first approach, which combines compassion with meticulous care to help people navigate what can be a stressful situation.

St. Mary’s surgeon Melissa Najarian, who performs colorectal surgeries, finds value in Healthgrades’ exhaustive analysis. That’s because it’s based on clinical outcomes — in other words, how her team’s patients fare, the most important metric of all.

“We are proud of this recognition because it says that our patients are receiving excellent care here at St. Mary’s,” Dr. Najarian said.


  • America’s 100 Best Hospitals for Coronary Intervention
  • Top 5% in the Nation for Coronary Interventional Procedures
  • Coronary Intervention Excellence Award
  • Five-Star Recipient for Valve Surgery
  • Five-Star Recipient for Total Knee Replacement
  • Five-Star Recipient for Colorectal Surgeries
  • Five-Star Recipient for Treatment of Pneumonia
  • Five-Star Recipient for Treatment of Sepsis

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