SALT LAKE CITY — Several of Utah's well-known hospitals achieved national recognition with the latest release of the annual "HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America" study.

Among them were 10 of Intermountain Healthcare's 22 Utah hospitals, four of six in the MountainStar health network and two local hospitals associated with national brand IASIS Healthcare.

The independent study, performed since 1998, analyzed nearly 40 million patient outcomes, including mortality and complication rates, to find out how well, statistically, hospitals provide effective and appropriate care for patients. HealthGrades identifies national and state-level trends in hospital care quality and establishes quality ratings for each hospital, across 26 different procedures and diagnoses.

Looking at overall trends, the HealthGrades study found that hospital mortality rates, on average, have declined by nearly 8 percent over a three-year period studied, from 2007 to 2009. Of the 17 mortality-based diagnoses and procedures analyzed, only two bucked the overall trend with increasing mortality rates — gastrointestinal surgeries and coronary intervention procedures.

American Fork Hospital, Dixie Regional Medical Center, Logan Regional Hospital, McKay-Dee Hospital and Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, all of the nonprofit Intermountain Healthcare network, dominated the "outstanding patient experience" category, while the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray earned recognition in stroke and pulmonary care, clinical excellence and women's health. Others within the network were also mentioned in categories of maternity care, general surgery and critical care.

St. Mark's Hospital, MountainStar's Salt Lake City facility, also earned a spot among the best in pulmonary care and along with its Lakeview Hospital, in Bountiful, received recognition in joint replacement surgery in this year's study. Ogden Regional Medical Center was ranked well for its quality of maternity care. Timpanogos Regional Medical Center was given a five-star ranking for stroke care.

IASIS hospitals, including Davis Hospital and Medical Center and Salt Lake Regional Medical Center, earned high marks from HeathGrades in areas of general surgery, coronary intervention and cardiac care.

Based on patient outcomes, each hospital was given a one- to five-star rating, which can be seen online at www. healthgrades.com.

The study found that if all hospitals performed at the level of a 5-star rated hospital, 232,442 Medicare lives could potentially have been saved from 2007 through 2009. In that time, HealthGrades reported that approximately 56 percent of the potentially preventable deaths were associated with just four diagnoses: sepsis (48,809), pneumonia (29,017), respiratory failure (26,361), and heart failure (25,762).

The study noted that Utah is one of the top five overall best-performing states for survival. Others included Arizona, Ohio, Maryland, and Michigan. Utah is also one of the best for critical care.