- Healthgrades on Tuesday released its America's Best Hospitals for 2019 lists. The best 50, 100 and 250 U.S. hospitals represent the top 1%, 2% and 5% of hospitals nationally, the organization said.
- California had the most awardees with 42 hospitals. Ohio was next with 23 hospitals, followed by Pennsylvania, which rounded out the top three with 15.
- In all, hospitals in 43 states received the award. Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire and North Dakota, as well as the District of Columbia, had no top-ranked hospitals.
Unlike some hospital rankings, Healthgrades bases its awards solely on clinical quality outcomes for 32 conditions and procedures. By contrast, U.S. News & World Report ranks hospitals in 12 specialty areas using hard data, but relies on reputation scores from a physician survey to rank four other specialties. The magazine also uses HCAHPS, which measures patient satisfaction through exit surveys, to determine its best hospitals lists.
Healthgrades recognized the hospitals for "superior clinical outcomes across the majority of common inpatient conditions and procedures."
The organization said the hospitals "outperformed peers in treating a core group of conditions that account for more than 80% of mortalities in areas evaluated, including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, respiratory failure, sepsis and stroke."
Patients treated at hospitals recognized on the list have on average a 27.1% lower risk of dying than patients treated at other hospitals, Healthgrades added, noting 168,165 lives could potentially be saved if all hospitals performed at their level of care.
California also had far and away the most hospitals on the "50 Best Hospitals" list, with 11 hospitals. Illinois had six and Pennsylvania counted five.
In Illinois, some of the top hospitals include Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove and Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove.
Pennsylvania's Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia nabbed a top spot along with Lancaster General in Lancaster.
Just 33 states had hospitals on the top 100 list, and only 31 had hospitals rated among the top 50.
Rankings by third-party organizations are controversial as the debate over how to judge hospitals continues and patients become more proactive about shopping for medical care. Such lists give top-rated hospitals a chance to tout the quality of their care and their value as a healthcare destination. For hospitals not on the list, they can point to areas that need improving.
Some healthcare leaders have questioned rankings and other grading systems. Chicago-based nonprofit Saint Anthony Hospital sued Leapfrog Group for defamation after seeing its grade drop from A to C in 2017. The suit was later dismissed on grounds that Leapfrog's grading system is protected free speech under the First Amendment.