FARMINGTON — San Juan Regional Medical Center is the sixth most beautiful hospital in America, according to a recent report that picked the Farmington facility from a list of 51 hospitals nominated for the honor.

It's "a high compliment to the community as a whole," Rick Wallace, CEO and president of the medical center, said of the award. "It's really reflective of the community's effort with the hospital."

Compiled by Soliant Health, a health care staffing firm based in Atlanta and part of the Adecco Group, the fourth annual "Top 20 most beautiful hospitals in the U.S." whittled down 350 nominations to 51 finalists. Farmington was the only finalist in New Mexico.

People nominated hospitals by an online form through the year until May. A panel from Soliant narrowed down the nominations to the finalists that were then open to voting.

The Farmington hospital had the sixth most votes at 4,998 of the nearly 170,000 that were cast. Voting was open to all on the Soliant website from May 29 to June 18.

The list congratulated the medical center's work on having an environment more than the stereotypical hospital. "Every new hospital should have hardwood floors in patient rooms. A cozy environment indoors and out is fostered by stone patios and big, comfy, wood patio chairs next to outdoor fireplaces for winter use," the list said of the medical center.

Wallace said the design and features of the hospital were mirrored from the local environment.

"We were driven by the culturally diverse community," Wallace said. "We wanted to adapt to that culture, to create an atmosphere of wellness."

Tera Tuten, operation director for Soliant Health, said that aesthetically pleasing hospitals add to the healing process.

There have been more than 1,000 studies that show a hospital's environment plays a major role in healing, she said.

"It congratulates hospitals that go above and beyond," Tuten said of the list. "It's important to recognize these hospitals.

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Along with bragging rights, Soliant Health awards a plaque to each hospital on the list.

Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va., was ranked No. 1 with 43,217 votes.

Following in order, the four hospitals ahead of San Juan were Eisenhower Medical Center, Rancho Mirage, Calif., 39,071 votes; LeConte Medical Center, Sevierville, Tenn., 13,883 votes; Miami Children's Hospital, Miami, Fla., 9,466 votes; and Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare, Elmhurst, Ill., 8,992 votes.

To see the full Soliant Health Top 20 list visit http://blog.soliant.com/most-beautiful-hospitals/2012/.