Hopkins Tops List for Best Rheumatology Hospitals per US News

Alicia Ault

August 14, 2018

Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, has been rated the best place in the country to go for rheumatology concerns, according to the annual "Best Hospitals" rankings compiled by US News and World Report.

It is the second year in a row that Hopkins topped the list for rheumatology; it was also number 1 in 2015. The best specialty hospitals are those that treat patients with life-threatening or rare conditions who need a facility that excels in treating complex, high-acuity cases, US News said.

The overall "Best Hospitals" rankings for 2018-2019 compared 4500 hospitals across 25 specialties, procedures, and conditions. Most rankings are the result of a strict and complex data-driven process. But rankings for four specialties — ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation, and rheumatology — are determined solely on the basis of physician surveys, for various reasons. For instance, rheumatology inpatient volume is extremely low, which makes any mortality rate calculations unreliable, US News said.

To be eligible for a ranking, a hospital first must meet at least one of four conditions:

  • It is a teaching hospital;

  • It is affiliated with a medical school;

  • It has at least 200 beds; or

  • It has at least 100 beds and offers at least four medical technologies from a list of

eight that US News deems significant.

Specialty hospitals in ophthalmology, psychiatry, rehabilitation, and rheumatology can qualify if, in addition, they are cited by an average of at least 5% of the physicians who responded to the latest 3 years of US News surveys of specialists, the publisher said.

For 2018-2019, 13 hospitals made the cut for rheumatology. Another 24 were recommended by at least 1% of respondents and are listed, but not ranked.

Top 13 Rheumatology Hospitals

1. Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland
2. Cleveland Clinic, Ohio
3. Hospital for Special Surgery-New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York City
4. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
5. Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
6. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
7. UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco, California
8. UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California
9. NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital, New York City
10. University at Alabama Birmingham Hospital
11. University of Michigan Hospitals-Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor
12. Duke University Hospital, Durham, North Carolina
13. UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Hopkins is a perennial on top hospital lists of all kinds, including the overall US News "Best Hospitals" report.

When Medscape Medical News asked physicians in 2017 to rank the top hospitals for nine  key conditions and procedures, the Baltimore facility figured prominently.

Physicians in that survey said the most important factors in making their choice were medically respected physician expertise (42%) and a good reputation among colleagues (19%). Having a specific physician at the hospital (13%), access to leading technology (10%), and low error rates (7%) also were important.

US News, which produces the rankings with the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina–based research organization RTI International, said that the highest-ranking hospitals are not always necessarily the best choices. "Patients still have to do their own research and talk with their doctors," the publisher said.

"We also understand that families have to consider such factors as the stress and expense of travel and lodging in another city and their insurer's willingness to pay for care if a hospital is out of network."

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