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U.S. News & World Report: Best Hospitals

By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD

July 15, 2014 -- The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, ranked first on the 2014 U.S. News & World Report list of best U.S. hospitals, also capturing half of the top spots for 16 specialty areas.

Last year, the top spot went to Johns Hopkins Hospital, which slipped to third this year. Massachusetts General Hospital is ranked in second place.

The rankings are calculated using several factors:

  • Reputation considers the input of 200 doctors from each of 16 specialties. The doctors were asked to list the hospitals they thought were best in their specialty for complex or difficult cases.
  • Patient survival looks at how successful each hospital is at keeping patients alive.
  • Patient safety rates each hospital on how well it avoided major mistakes -- bleeding after surgery, for example, or mistakes during surgery. This year, more emphasis was put on patient safety in calculating hospitals' scores.
  • Other factors include staffing of nurses, patient volume, and technology that improves quality of care.

Statistics came from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' MedPAR database, the American Hospital Association, and other professional organizations.

This year, 17 hospitals were awarded a place on the honor roll. Each ranked at or near the top in six or more specialty areas. They include:

1. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

2. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

3. Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore

4. Cleveland Clinic

5. UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles

6. New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell, NY

7. Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian, Philadelphia

8. UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco

9. Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston

10. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago

11. University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle

12. (tie) Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles

12. (tie) UPMC-University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

14. Duke University Hospital, Durham, NC

15. NYU Langone Medical Center, New York

16. Mount Sinai Hospital, New York

17. Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University, St. Louis

Top Hospitals by Specialty

The magazine also ranked top hospitals in 16 specialty areas. The list includes:

Cancer

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York

Cardiology and Heart Surgery

Cleveland Clinic

Diabetes and Endocrinology

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Ear, Nose, and Throat

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Gastroenterology and GI Surgery

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Geriatrics

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Gynecology

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Nephrology

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Neurology and Neurosurgery

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Ophthalmology

Bascom Palmer Eye Institute-Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital, Miami

Orthopedics

Hospital for Special Surgery, New York

Psychiatry

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

Pulmonology

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Rheumatology

Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore

Urology

Cleveland Clinic

"U.S. News strives to provide patients and their families with the most comprehensive data available on hospitals," says Avery Comarow, U.S. News health rankings editor, in a statement. "With an estimated 400,000 deaths occurring in hospitals each year from medical errors, measuring safety performance is critical to understanding how well a hospital cares for its patients."

To view the rankings, see www.usnews.com/best-hospitals.

Ben Harder, U.S. News managing editor of health care analysis, says people can get good care at many hospitals, not just those on the list.

"It's important to note that the patients whom Best Hospitals is designed to serve are not typical hospital patients -- they are the sickest and most vulnerable," Harder says. "Patients with more 'routine' medical needs -- those seeking an uncomplicated hip-replacement operation, for example, or uncomplicated cardiac bypass surgery -- may have good odds even at hospitals not ranked by U.S. News."

The site also has additional information on its Best Regional Hospitals list (www.usnews.com/best-hospitals/area).

How to Use Rankings

The rankings can help people compare health care options and choose wisely, says Erica Mobley, director of communications and development for The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit advocating for health care quality and safety. She was not involved in the U.S. News rankings, but Leapfrog issues hospital safety scores.

"We would encourage consumers to consult a variety of different rankings, including our own hospital safety scores," she says. The U.S. News specialty rankings are particularly useful, she says, if consumers need a specific treatment.

"Consumers still don't think of health care as something you shop for," she says. "But with all these ratings, there is an opportunity to do just that."

SOURCES: U.S. News & World Report: "U.S. News Best Hospitals 2014-15." Erica Mobley, director of communications and development, The Leapfrog Group, Washington, DC.

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