Sutter Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Santa Rosa have been recognized as "top performers" in 2011 by an independent organization that accredits and certifies hospitals and other health care organizations across the country.

Santa Rosa's Sutter and Kaiser hospitals were among 620 medical centers that achieved outstanding performance in four key quality measures, according to the Joint Commission, the nation's leading accrediting body for hospitals. The four accountability measure sets were heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care.

The Joint Commission, which accredits more than 19,000 health care organizations, of which 3,300 are hospitals, released the results this week in its 2012 annual report. It is only the second year that the commission has compiled the list of top performers.

In 2010, there were 406 U.S. hospitals that made the list. Of these, 244 hospitals were again recognized as top performers in 2011.

It is the first year that Sutter and Kaiser in Santa Rosa made the list. Petaluma Valley Hospital, which is run by St. Joseph Health System Sonoma County, made the list last year.

Mike Purvis, chief administrative officer for Sutter Health Medical Center, said the performance measures are rigorous and must be maintained "day in, day out, every day."

"You have to do it in a sustained way over time, and you have to do it very well," he said.

Examples of specific accountability measures for the heart attack category range from giving aspirin to patients at arrival and discharge to providing coronary angioplasty within 90 minutes of arrival.

The Kaiser hospital was among 20 Kaiser Permanente facilities that made the list this year, twice the number as last year, a Kaiser spokesman said.

"We're pleased to be recognized as a top performer hospital by The Joint Commission," said Rebecca La Londe, area quality leader of the Kaiser Medical Center. "It's a tribute to the care and service provided by our physicians and staff."

Purvis said the commission's recognition comes at a time when Sutter Health is gearing up for a new era of excellence in Santa Rosa. Its new medical center adjacent to the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts is set for completion in 2014.

"It's going to be a pleasure and a gift to move our clinical care team into a facility that will support even better and more efficient care," he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 521-5213 or