Commercial report card developer HealthGrades® believes it has isolated the essential characteristics of the “100 Best Hospitals” it identifies in a publication it released this spring. The list is based on analysis of up to ten years worth of hospital-specific Medicare mortality and complication data. The essential characteristics seen as correlating with superior performance include: (1) long c-suite tenure ( nearly two-thirds of high-performing hospitals report an average tenure for senior managers of more than five years); (2) positive operating margins (most high performance facilities report operating margins greater than 2 percent, with a third reporting margins greater than 4%); (3) achievement orientation (8 of 10 hospitals report a strong interest in obtaining external awards); and (4) community commitment (more than half of the high-achieving institutions believe their patients take publicly-available hospital report cards seriously) . Additionally, most of the top-performers believe that physician buy-in is essential to their success and that the critical measures of that success are quality outcomes and unique service offerings. In terms of performance from 2008 to 2010, HealthGrades® claims high-performers had 30% lower risk-adjusted mortality than other hospitals when evaluated for 17 procedures and diagnoses. Fully 87% are non-profit institutions, while 7% are for-profit and 6% are government-owned. To review the list and associated documentation, visit the HealthGrades® website at www.healthgrades.com.