BEMIDJI -- Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota has managed to raise the bar.

According to a release, the local health provider's Bemidji Medical Center was recently awarded a four-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS. A federal agency, the CMS is an agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

The ratings come out usually on a biannual basis as part of its 2021 Care Compare program, with more than 4,500 hospitals across the country being rated on a scale of one to five. This recent rating is the first four-star for Sanford's Bemidji location.

Susan Jarvis, Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota president and CEO, told the Pioneer that the highest the Bemidji Medical Center has reached is a three-star rating and most recently had received a two-star.

The rating designation is based on how well a hospital performs across different areas of quality, such as mortality, timeliness and effectiveness of care, readmission rates, patient experiences and safety of care, release states.

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"After this past year, I am tremendously proud of our staff who not only ensured safe and quality care was provided during a pandemic, but improved upon it,' Jarvis said in the release. "We hope to continue improving the standard and safety of care our community needs and deserves."