- For the fourth year in a row, Mayo Clinic won the No. 1 spot in U.S. News & World Report's ranking of best hospitals in the country. The 2019-20 results were released Tuesday.
- Johns Hopkins Hospital held on to the No. 3 spot, while Massachusetts General Hospital (2) and Cleveland Clinic (4) flipped spots. New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia and Cornell, N.Y., knocked University of Michigan Hospitals-Michigan Medicine out of the fifth spot on the Best Hospitals Honor Roll.
- However, the publication urged caution when making comparisons to previous rankings because it updated its methodology with this year's list. The 30th edition of the annual ranking compares 4,653 medical centers nationwide in 16 specialties and 9 procedures and conditions.
The U.S. News ranking is one of several high-profile reports measuring the quality of patient care at U.S. hospitals and highly coveted by health systems. Institutions that score well typically tout their ranking to attract patients and differentiate themselves from rivals.
U.S. News updated its methodology this year, including adding a measure to assess the likelihood that a patient would be discharged to the home, rather than transitioning to a skilled nursing facility or other institutional setting. It also added a measure of patient experience, drawing on data from CMS' Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey.
The publication also made changes to its risk-adjustment methodology for the hospital rankings. The new model accounts for patient age, sex, Medicaid status and comorbid conditions.
In the 2019-20 list, 165 hospitals were nationally ranked in at least one specialty.
Mayo Clinic scored the top spot in five specialties: diabetes and endocrinology; ear, nose and throat; gastroenterology and GI surgery; urology; and nephrology.
Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins Hospital ranked No. 1 in three specialties: geriatrics, neurology and neurosurgery, and rheumatology. Others garnering the top spot for specialty care included: Cleveland Clinic for cardiology and heart surgery, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in cancer, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in gynecology.
The magazine also evaluates hospitals' performance on nine common procedures and conditions, such as heart bypass surgery, colon cancer surgery and hip replacement. A total of 57 hospitals were rated high performing in all nine procedures and conditions, while 1,447 received a high-performing rating in at least one of nine.
Another prominent hospital quality-rating system also released updated rankings this year. CMS released a new version of its star rating system in February, after delaying updates for more than a year. At the same time, the agency released for public comment proposed changes to how it calculates star ratings, such as comparing hospitals against other facilities in a "peer group," rather than against all hospitals.
Hospital advocacy groups, which said the proposed changes are not enough, argue that CMS' methods do not accurately account for hospitals' differing patient populations, penalizing safety net and teaching institutions.