Healthgrades Ranks UAMS in Top 5% of Nation for Brain Surgery, Praises Stroke Program

By Linda Satter

The designation by Healthgrades, the leading marketplace connecting doctors and patients, reflects UAMS’ outstanding trial outcomes for cranial neurosurgery and distinguishes UAMS as one of the nation’s leading hospitals for cranial neurosurgery, or brain surgery.

It is a step up from last year, when Healthgrades ranked UAMS in the top 10% of hospitals for cranial neurosurgery.

Healthgrades also bestowed a 2023 Cranial Neurosurgery Excellence Award on UAMS for the second year in a row. The Specialty Excellence Awards recognize the top 10% of hospitals across the country in 17 specialty care areas.

“Achieving this award validates our efforts to make sure that Arkansans have access to the most up-to-date surgical technology and surgical options available for treatment of brain tumors, brain aneurysms, movement disorders and epilepsy,” said J.D. Day, M.D., chair of the UAMS Department of Neurosurgery.

Healthgrades also honored UAMS as a Five-Star Recipient for Cranial Neurosurgery and, for the second consecutive year, Treatment of Stroke.

“This accomplishment reflects the consistently outstanding care that stroke patients receive at our UAMS Comprehensive Stroke Center and the dedication of our stroke team to improving outcomes for Arkansans suffering from stroke,” said Marzella Backus, MNSc, RN, director of the UAMS stroke program. “We are very fortunate to have the ability to offer this level of care and expertise.”

“The five-star recognition of our stroke program is a testament to the dedication and expertise of our UAMS stroke team,” said Sanjeeva Reddy Onteddu, M.D., an associate professor of neurology who is the stroke program’s medical director. “UAMS has a strong commitment to providing the highest level of stroke care available by maintaining the most stringent stroke standards.”

Healthgrades evaluated patient mortality and complication rates for 31 of the most common conditions and procedures at nearly 4,500 hospitals across the country to identify the top-performing hospitals for specialty care.

“This year’s analysis revealed significant variation in patient outcomes between hospitals with a 2023 Healthgrades Specialty Excellence Award and hospitals that did not receive the award,” according to Healthgrades.

Surrounding J.D. Day, M.D., holding trophy, are (from left to right) Ashley Benton, R.N.; M.J. Orellano, neurosurgery service line administrator; Gaye Sink, R.N.; Analiz Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D.; Ebonye Green, A.P.R.N.; and Cynthia Brown, R.N.

Surrounding J.D. Day, M.D., holding trophy, are (from left to right) Ashley Benton, R.N.; M.J. Orellano, neurosurgery service line administrator; Gaye Sink, R.N.; Analiz Rodriguez, M.D., Ph.D.; Ebonye Green, A.P.R.N.; and Cynthia Brown, R.N. Image by Evan Lewis.Evan Lewis

“From 2019-2020, patients treated at hospitals receiving the Cranial Neurosurgery Excellence Award have, on average, a 35.1% lower risk of dying than if they were treated at hospitals that did not receive the award,” it said, citing an analysis of data for Medicare patients.

The ratings are independent and impartial. Hospitals can neither opt-in or opt-out of the ratings, nor can they submit their own data.

“We commend UAMS for their ongoing commitment to providing high-quality care to patients undergoing cranial neurosurgery,” said Brad Bowman, M.D., chief medical officer and head of data science at Healthgrades. “Consumers can feel confident that recipients of the 2023 Cranial Neurosurgery Excellence Award have demonstrated their ability to deliver consistently exceptional outcomes.”


UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and eight institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute, Institute for Digital Health & Innovation and the Institute for Community Health Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,275 students, 890 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 12,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), YouTube or Instagram.