For the second time in three years, Desert Valley Hospital has been recognized as one the Nation's Top 100 Hospitals. The hospital was one of only 20 small hospitals in the nation to be recognized in the list, which also includes larger, wellknown health institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and the University of Chicago Hospital. The list of top hospitals was compiled and released by Solucient, a national company that is a source of information products for the health care industry. According to Solucient spokeswoman Jenny Sexton, each hospital on the list was picked based on patient care, patient safety, efficiency and financial performance. "The data we collect to select hospital is available to all the public and our experts examined the data and determined that each hospital selected was efficient in providing medical care at the same time they had a respectable financial performance," Sexton said in a telephone interview from Chicago. The spokeswoman said the research analysts who selected the top hospitals are completely independent ensuring each hospital evaluated received fair treatment. "In the beginning of the selection process we started with 3,000 hospitals that qualified, but only 100 make the list," she added. Desert Valley Hospital Owner, Dr. Prem Reddy, said the award reflects the success of every employee at the hospital. "From the cleaning crew to management we always have a criteria for performance improvement," Reddy said. "We are very physician-oriented and that eliminates the bureaucracy." Asked if he thought his institution was successful because he stopped accepting certain insurance plans, Reddy said that according to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, his hospital treats more uninsured patients and provides more charity care than Victor Valley Community Hospital and St. Mary Medical Center. "In 2005, 23 percent of our emergency room patients were uninsured," he said. According to OSHPD statistics, St. Mary's percentage of uninsured patients is of 15.8 percent while Victor Valley hospital's is of 18.4 percent. Reddy said that even though his institution provides more charity and uninsured care, the hospital still paid income taxes in 2005 in the amount of $7 million, while St. Mary's and Victor Valley paid no taxes because they are non-profit hospitals. And while Reddy is accurate in reporting an increase in the care for indigents, OSHPD figures for 2003 report that although Desert Valley made more money from treating the indigent, Desert Valley treated 398 patients while Victor Valley Hospital treated 1,184 patients, according to OSHPD. Desert Valley Hospital CEO Lex Reddy explained that awards are nice, but they are not the goal at the hospital. "High quality patient care is our priority," he said. "We have a team approach that makes patients the main focus of our job." University of Southern California hospital management professor Lovanna Lewis explained that awards, such as the Solucient Top 100 Hospitals, add credibility to health organizations. "This is not a cotton-candy award. This is a legitimate prize that is not arbitrarily given to anyone," she explained.