- U.S. News & World Report on Monday released its list of 2017-18 Best Hospitals.
- For the second straight year, Mayo Clinic ranked No.1. Rounding out the top five were by Cleveland Clinic (2) Johns Hopkins Hospital (3), Massachusetts General Hospital (4) and UCSF Medical Center (5).
- The rankings compare more than 4,400 hospitals across 16 specialties and nine procedures and conditions.
The methodologies that the publisher used in its assessment included patient survival, volume, readmission rates, patient experience, patient safety and adequacy of nurse staffing. Also, for the first time this year, U.S. News risk-adjusted for socioeconomic status, adjusted volume to improve comparability among hospitals and used a broader definition of transfer cases to ensure hospitals are rewarded for accepting high-risk patients.
The move to include socioeconomic status in an effort to be more fair in evaluating safety net hospitals is seen at federal regulatory levels as well. The CMS recently decided it will start using this data in The Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program.
Rankings by third-party organizations such as U.S. News are good fodder for hospital marketers looking to attract patients, but they can be subjective and misleading.
In June, the American Hospital Association sent a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma urging her to suspend its star rating program, saying it oversimplifies complex data and penalizes teaching hospitals and centers with higher volumes of poorer patients.
Earlier this year, the Mayo Clinic stirred up controversy when CEO John Noseworthy told employees the health system would prioritize patients with private insurance over those with Medicaid if they seek care at the same time for similar conditions. After some heavy criticism, Noseworthy rolled back the comment and said he regretted using the word "priority."
Taking a look at the specialty rankings released Tuesday, 152 hospitals were nationally ranked in at least one specialty. Only 48 hospitals received a high rating in all nine procedures and conditions.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center took first place in the cancer category and Cleveland Clinic ranked top in cardiology and heart surgery. The best hospital for orthopedics is Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
Massachusetts General Hospital slid to fourth place in the overall list this year after being bumped from first place in 2015 to third place last year.
The rankings were determined in conjunction with RTI International and the report’s release was sponsored by Fidelity Investments.
U.S. News released its 2017-2018 best children’s hospital rankings in June.