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U.S. Hospitals are Now Graded for Quality of Care in Orthopedic Surgery;
HealthCareReportCards.com Posts Grades Free on the Internet

LAKEWOOD, Colo., Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- HealthCareReportCards.com(TM), the
hugely popular Internet web site created by Healthcare Report Cards, Inc.
(HRCI), announced today that it has added orthopedic surgery as the newest
specialty by which it grades the performance and quality of care at nearly
2,600 U.S. hospitals which perform hip and knee replacement surgery.

HealthCareReportCards.com(TM), which has registered an incredible 3.8 million
hits since its launch October 27, is a free, one-of-a-kind Internet service
that accurately and objectively grades the performance of virtually all
American hospitals engaged in orthopedic joint replacement surgery, in
addition to more than 3,800 hospitals engaged in cardiac surgery and/or
cardiology.  Additional medical specialties, such as neurology and
neurosurgery, vascular surgery, pulmonary/respiratory medicine, obstetrics and
oncology will be added to the site over the next few months.

"This is the first opportunity for consumers, referring physicians and managed
care companies to compare their local hospitals with each other and with the
most prestigious and top-rated medical facilities nationwide," said Sarah
Loughran, vice president of HRCI.  Loughran also said that the company has
applied for a U.S. patent on its business processes and methodology.

The grades posted on HealthCareReportCards.com(TM) reflect not only the
quality of care delivered by the hospital's staff, but also the quality of
care given by the physicians involved in the relevant patient cases, Loughran
added.

"Five- and Four-Star cardiac hospitals represent the top 15 percent of all
medical facilities engaged in cardiology and cardiac surgery nationwide,"
Loughran said.  "About 12 percent of all hospitals engaged in orthopedic joint
replacement surgery received Five- and Four-Star ratings," she added.

Hospitals are rated based on the incidence of major complications that can
accompany such invasive procedures as Total Hip Replacement  --  1st Surgery,
Total Hip Replacement  --  Revision (repeat surgery), and Total Knee
Replacement  --  1st Surgery, she said.  Major orthopedic complications can
include implant complications, stroke, cardiac arrest, pulmonary collapse and
some severe types of infection.

"We all know that some hospitals care for a higher number of patients who are
more seriously ill than do some other hospitals," said Kevin J. Hicks,
executive vice president of Healthcare Report Cards, Inc. (HRCI).  "As a
result, our proprietary risk-adjusted grading system, developed by Dr. Susan
DesHarnais, an expert from the Medical University of South Carolina, uses a
logistic regression model to equalize the data for major complications for
virtually every hospital in the country."

Under the previously released cardiology and cardiac surgery specialties, the
procedures include Coronary Bypass Surgery, Valve Replacement Surgery and
Interventional procedures including PTCA (angioplasty), Stent and Atherectomy.
Diagnoses include Heart Attack/Acute Myocardial Infarction and Heart Failure.

The raw data, the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MEDPAR), is purchased
from the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), a part of the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services and reflect official reports made by
each, individual hospital.

Five- and four-star hospitals can buy sponsorships on the HCRC site and can
purchase the data for local promotions, marketing and public relations,
Loughran added.

The contents of HealthCareReportCards.com(TM) are copyrighted.  Use of the
data for any purpose, without the written permission of Healthcare Report
Cards, Inc., is prohibited.  HRCI actively and aggressively enforces its
intellectual property rights and copyrights to the full extent of the law.
Sample screens, a press release, fact sheet and other media information is
available on the site by clicking on "Press Kit" on the home page of
HealthCareReportCards.com(TM).

SOURCE  Healthcare Report Cards, Inc.

CO:  Healthcare Report Cards, Inc.; HealthCareReportCards.com

ST:  Colorado

IN:  HEA

SU:  PDT

12/02/98 16:02 EST http://www.prnewswire.com