US News Top Hospitals List Led by Mass General Again

July 21, 2015

Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston ranked number one in the annual honor roll of best hospitals published by US News & World Report after a 3-year absence from the top spot.

The famous Boston hospital topped the list in 2012 and placed second in both 2013 and 2014.

The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, slipped from first place to second place in this year's rating. Tied for third were Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.

1. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

2. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

3. Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland

3. UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles

5. Cleveland Clinic, Ohio

6. Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

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

8. UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco

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

10. Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri

11. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Illinois

12. NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City

13. UPMC-University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pennsylvania

14. Duke University Hospital, Durham, North Carolina

15. Stanford Health-Stanford Hospital, Stanford, California

The honor roll identifies hospitals "that excel in treating the most difficult cases," according to the magazine. To appear on the list, hospitals must rank at or near the top in at least six of 16 medical and surgical specialties.

In 12 of the 16 specialties, hospitals amass honor roll points for patient survival, patient safety, care-related factors such as nursing staff levels and patient volume, and reputation, which accounted for 27.5% of the total score. US News collects objective quality data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the American Hospital Association, and professional organizations. For the reputation category, the magazine asks physicians to name up to five hospitals that deliver the best care in their specialty for complex or difficult cases.

In the remaining four specialties (ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation, and rheumatology), hospitals are ranked solely on the basis of reputation. US News said it does that because these specialties involve mostly outpatient care with very little incidence of death. Risk-adjusted mortality rates, therefore, do not carry much statistical weight.

The annual US News list, launched in 1990, is not the only hospital ranking available to consumers. They also can turn to score cards from Consumer Reports magazine, the Leapfrog Group, and HealthGrades. Each group employs different rating methodologies and comes up, unsurprisingly, with different pecking orders. US News is the only organization that factors in a hospital's reputation, which some patient safety experts say is not a good measure of quality care.

Mayo Clinic the Top Hospital in Eight of 16 Specialties

This year's online report on hospitals from US News allows consumers to look up information on almost 5000 institutions nationwide. Military and Veterans Affairs hospitals are not included, the magazine said, because it has been unable to persuade the federal government to release performance data on them.

US News identifies the top institutions in each of the 16 specialties it studied. The Mayo Clinic was number one in half of them.

  • 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: Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Gastroenterology and Gastrointestinal Surgery: Mayo Clinic

  • Geriatrics: Mayo Clinic

  • Gynecology: Mayo Clinic

  • Nephrology: Mayo Clinic

  • Neurology and Neurosurgery: Mayo Clinic

  • Ophthalmology: Bascom Palmer Eye Institute-Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital, Miami, Florida

  • Orthopedics: Hospital for Special Surgery, New York City

  • Psychiatry: New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell

  • Pulmonology: Mayo Clinic

  • Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

  • Rheumatology: Johns Hopkins Hospital

  • Urology: Mayo Clinic

The magazine breaks down the data another way by identifying 520 best regional hospitals, which are ranked by state and metro area on the basis of how they perform in both complex and routine care.

More information on the US News best-hospital report is available on the magazine's website.

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