Despite Troubles, MD Anderson Is Top-Ranked Cancer Hospital

Nick Mulcahy

August 14, 2018

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is America's best cancer hospital for 2018, according to the annual rankings from US News and World Report.

The renowned center repeats from last year as best-rated hospital of its kind, despite a series of well-publicized troubles in 2017, including large budget shortfalls, and the cutting of 1000 staff, the resignation of its controversial top executive, and an aborted, big-data cancer management collaboration.

The center was also recently fined $4.3 million for violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The fine was imposed after an employee lost a laptop and thumb drives containing unencrypted electronic protected health information of more than 33,500 individuals.

But none of those problems appeared to have affected the Texas cancer hospital's 2018 ranking, as MD Anderson scored a perfect 100 out of a possible 100.

"MD Anderson is proud and grateful to be recognized once again as the leading cancer center in the nation, an honor that reflects our team's commitment to ending cancer," said Peter W. T. Pisters, MD, president of MD Anderson, in a press statement.

The rankings are based on four elements (and the related percentage of total score): risk-adjusted mortality data (37.5%); patient safety (5%); care-related factors, such as the intensity of nurse staffing and the breadth of patient services (30%); and expert opinion obtained through a physician survey (27.5%). All patient data used in the US News rankings come from Medicare.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, once again finished in second place, just as in 2017, with a score of 97.4. The Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota (95.3), the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, Boston, Massachusetts (83.0), and the Cleveland Clinic (80.9) rounded out the top five.

Slots six to ten were filled by Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland (80.3); Seattle Cancer Care Alliance/University of Washington Medical Center (78.5); H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida (76.6); the University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center (76.6); and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia (75.8).

The top 10 cancer hospitals per US News are the same as in 2017, although a few institutions moved up or down in the count.

Regarding the rest of the top 50 cancer hospitals, there are some notable changes from 2017. For example, the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center dropped from being tied for 12 in 2017 to 21 in 2018. On the other hand, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina rose from 27 in 2017 to 19 in 2018.

The complete rankings are available online.

Follow Medscape senior journalist Nick Mulcahy on Twitter: @MulcahyNick

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