By Avery Comarow and Ben Harder for U.S. News & World Report
Rankings by specialty and ratings by procedure and condition, plus the elite 20-hospital Honor Roll.
Ever since 1970, patients have been checking into a hospital somewhere in America at a pace slightly faster than one every second, adding up to more than 33 million hospitalizations a year. With so many lives at stake and so many patients on whom to sharpen their skills, hospitals could be expected to meet the most demanding standards for quality and safety.
Yet too many hospitals fail even those whose medical needs are relatively straightforward, as is the case for most patients – uncomplicated heart bypass surgery, a hip joint that needs to be replaced, a cancerous section of colon removed. A hospital that makes treating patients like them its bread and butter is the very definition of a community hospital and should perform at a high standard.
To help consumers find such hospitals for routine inpatient care – nearby hospitals that are likely to be included in their insurance plan’s network – last year we began rating hospital performance in five bellwether procedures and conditions such as heart bypass, hip and knee replacement and heart failure. This year we have added four more surgical procedures, including colon and lung cancer surgery and aortic valve surgery.
The expanded ratings are an important companion to the Best Hospitals national rankings, which since 1990 have helped patients whose care is especially challenging and complex make smart, well-informed choices. Hospitals are ranked in 16 specialties on how well they care for these patients, for whom the stakes may be a matter of life or death. For them, venturing beyond a trusted community hospital to seek care at a truly exceptional medical center, even one hundreds or thousands of miles from home, may be the wisest option.
The Best Hospitals Honor Roll has been revamped for 2016-17 to take both the national rankings and the procedure and condition ratings into account. Hospitals received points if they were nationally ranked in one of the 16 specialties – the higher they ranked, the more points they got – and how many ratings of “high performing” they earned in the nine procedures and conditions. The top 20 point-getters made up the Honor Roll.
2016-17 Best Hospitals Honor Roll
#1 Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. 418 points
#2 Cleveland Clinic 378 points
#3 Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 371 points
#4 Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore 349 points
#5 UCLA Medical Center 331 points
#7 UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco 273 points
#8 Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago 266 points
#10 NYU Langone Medical Center, New York 247 points
#11 Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University, St. Louis 241 points
#12 UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, Pittsburgh 236 points
#13 Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston 235 points
#14 Stanford Health Care-Stanford Hospital, Stanford, Calif. 227 points
#15 Mount Sinai Hospital, New York 226 points
#16 Duke University Hospital, Durham, N.C. 222 points
#17 Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles 220 points
#19 Houston Methodist Hospital 191 points
#20 University of Colorado Hospital, Aurora 190 points
Best Regional Hospitals
U.S. News created Best Regional Hospitals in 2011 to provide consumers who want to stay close to home with an overall assessment of their region’s hospitals across multiple areas of care. To be recognized regionally, a hospital must have been either nationally ranked in one of the 12 specialties in which objective data primarily determine a hospital’s performance, or received ratings of high performing in four or more of those specialties or the procedures and conditions.
In 2016-17, 504 hospitals were recognized as Best Regional Hospitals. In each state and metropolitan areas with 1 million or more residents, they were numerically ranked if there were at least two Best Regional Hospitals.
The greatest concentration of standout regional hospitals lies in the New York metro area, where New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell was first among 28 regionally ranked centers. In Chicago, Northwestern Memorial Hospital ranked first of 23. In the Los Angeles metro area, a third crowded market, UCLA Medical Center topped the regional list of 21 hospitals.
For patients and their physicians, these rankings and ratings should be seen as just a starting point. Individual diagnosis and personal priorities will dictate their personal best choice. With the latest U.S. News hospital-quality data at their fingertips, they can make their choices with greater confidence.