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Since You Asked

RVMC ad claim true at heart of the matter I saw an ad on the back of your W3 magazine that claimed Rogue Valley Medical Center is the only hospital on the West Coast to be named one of the top 100 cardiovascular hospitals in the U.S. for three years running.

Can that really be true?

' Shirley L., Rogue River

Surely, Shirley, you know that people who place advertisements try to cast themselves or their organization in the best possible light.

RVMC has good reason to crow ' it was named one of the top 100 cardiac hospitals by Solucient, an organization that rates hospitals on the success of many kinds of care. One of its categories is for cardiovascular procedures.

As you might imagine, Solucient uses some sophisticated criteria to choose the 100 best hospitals. They want to compare apples to apples.

In general, they evaluated cardiac patients' length of hospital stay, the rate of post-surgical complications and surgery costs to determine which hospitals did the best work.

Some hospitals were eliminated from the study simply because they do not perform enough cardiac procedures to be evaluated.

Look at that ad again and note two important qualifying terms ' for three years running and on the West Coast.

We combed Solucient's list of the top 100 cardiac hospitals for 2000, 2001 and 2002, and unless we missed something, it looks like RVMC's ad is correct.

A number of Oregon, Washington and California hospitals have made the list, including several for two of the three years in question, but RVMC is the only one to make the grade three years running.

You can see the results yourself on the Web at

Send questions to Since You Asked, Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to