Mass General Bumps Johns Hopkins From Top Hospital Spot

July 17, 2012

July 17, 2012 — Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston has bumped Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, from the number 1 spot it has held since 1991 in the annual list of best hospitals compiled by US News & World Report.

But not by much. Both hospitals this year amassed 30 "honor roll" points in the magazine's scoring system, but Massachusetts General was highly ranked in 16 specialties compared with 15 specialties for Johns Hopkins, which came in a close second in the 2012 ranking, published online today.

Massachusetts General Hospital President Peter Slavin, MD, called the first-place finish a tribute to the hospital's staff of 23,000. David Torchiana, MD, chief executive officer of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, agreed, but put the honor in perspective.

Massachusetts General Hospital

"Our competition is not other hospitals," Dr. Torchiana said in a press release. "Rather our competition is disease, health care costs, accessibility of services, and social issues such as poverty, violence, and substance abuse that affect the well-being of the community."

To compile its honor roll, US News & World Report ranked eligible hospitals in 16 specialties. In 12 of them, the magazine relied mostly on hard data such as survival rates and nurse staffing levels. For ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation, and rheumatology, however, hospitals were judged solely by their reputation among specialists in those fields.

Hospitals made the honor roll by ranking at or near the top in at least 6 specialties.

  1. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

  2. Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland

  3. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

  4. Cleveland Clinic, Ohio

  5. Ronald Reagan University of California–Los Angeles Medical Center

  6. Barnes–Jewish Hospital/Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri

  7. New York–Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell, New York City

  8. Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina

  9. Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston

  10. UMPC-University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania

  11. New York University Langone Medical Center

  12. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois

  13. University of California–San Francisco Medical Center

  14. Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York City

  15. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

  16. Indiana University Health, Indianapolis

  17. University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, Ann Arbor

Data reprinted with permission from US News & World Report.

The specialty rankings for 2012 replicate those for last year, with the exception of geriatrics, nephrology, and urology, where first place changed hands.

  • Cancer: University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston

  • Cardiology and Heart Surgery: Cleveland Clinic

  • Diabetes and Endocrinology: Mayo Clinic

  • Ear, Nose, and Throat: Johns Hopkins Hospital

  • Gastroenterology: Mayo Clinic

  • Geriatrics: Johns Hopkins Hospital

  • Gynecology: Mayo Clinic

  • Nephrology: Cleveland Clinic

  • Neurology and Neurosurgery: Johns Hopkins Hospital

  • Ophthalmology: Bascom Palmer Eye Institute at the University of Miami, Florida

  • Orthopaedics: Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City

  • Psychiatry: Johns Hopkins Hospital

  • Pulmonology: National Jewish Health, Denver, Colorado/University of Colorado Hospital, Denver

  • Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Illinois

  • Rheumatology: Johns Hopkins Hospital

  • Urology: Cleveland Clinic

Of the nation's nearly 4800 community hospitals, almost 1900 met the magazine's eligibility requirements for the specialty rankings. Hospitals made the first cut if they were affiliated with a medical school, belonged to the Council of Teaching Hospitals, staffed at least 200 beds, or fielded at least 4 of 8 key technologies such as full-field digital mammography while staffing at least 100 beds. To make the second and final cut, hospitals needed a minimum number of patient discharges involving complex care in at least 1 of the 12 specialties in which performance was graded primarily on the basis of hard data.

The full list of top hospitals by specialty is available on the US News & World Report Web site.

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