SIOUX FALLS — Avera Sacred Heart Hospital was recently named one of the top 20 rural and community hospitals in the country.

The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) has announced the 20 highest-ranked prospective payment system hospitals in the country based on an evaluation by the Chartis Center for Rural Health using iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength Index. These rural and community hospitals will be recognized in an awards ceremony during NRHA’s Rural Hospital Innovation Summit May 21 in San Diego.

Meanwhile, four other Avera hospitals earned spots in a list of the Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals in the United States.

They include:

• Avera Queen of Peace (Mitchell)

• Avera St. Luke’s Hospital (Aberdeen)

• Avera St. Mary’s Hospital (Pierre)

• Lakes Regional Healthcare (Spirit Lake, Iowa)

Avera Health President and CEO Bob Sutton said the facilities that earn this recognition remind Avera as a whole of the critical role it holds in many communities.

“The honor earned by these facilities recognizes the hard work of Avera professionals,” Sutton said. “This news reminds us of the important place we have in the lives of many who depend on us for care.”

This annual award honoring rural hospital performance is determined by the results of iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength INDEX®, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2020.

Based entirely on publicly available data, the INDEX is the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural hospital performance. Utilizing 50 independent indicators, the INDEX assesses performance across eight pillars of performance that span market-, value- and finance-based categories. Hospitals recognized as a Top 100 facility had one of the 100 highest overall scores among all Rural & Community Hospitals nationally. The INDEX eight pillars of hospital strength include:

• Inpatient Share Ranking

• Outpatient Share Ranking

• Cost

• Charge

• Quality

• Outcomes

• Patient Perspectives

• Financial Stability

The hospitals that are named to this list are top performers in managing risk, achieving higher quality, securing better outcomes, increasing patient satisfaction and operating at a lower cost than their peers, according to the report. You can see the full national list online at

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