July 27, 2021

The 175 'Best Hospitals,' according to US News

Daily Briefing

    U.S. News & World Report on Tuesday released its 32nd annual Best Hospital rankings, with Mayo Clinic topping the publication's "Honor Roll" for the sixth year in a row.

    Cheat sheets: How hospital quality ratings work

    This year's list

    For the 2021-2022 list, U.S. News drew from the 4,523 hospitals and health care facilities included in the American Hospital Association's Annual Survey of Hospitals.

    U.S. News evaluated facilities across 15 specialties. On the latest list, 175 hospitals ranked in at least one specialty.

    The publication also named 20 facilities to its "Honor Roll" for achieving strong performance in multiple specialties.

    How hospitals were ranked

    To qualify to be ranked as one of the top specialty hospitals, hospitals must meet one of the following criteria:

    • Be a teaching hospital
    • Be affiliated with a medical school
    • Have at least 200 beds
    • Have at least 100 beds and offer four or more types of medical technology considered by U.S. News to be key to high-quality care, such as PET/CT scanners

    U.S. News ranked 3 of the 15 specialties—ophthalmology, psychiatry, and rheumatology—based on a survey of experts.

    For the other 12 specialties, U.S. News determined the rankings based largely on federal and industry data, although it also incorporated results from a reputational survey. The 12 data-driven specialties are:

    • Cancer
    • Cardiology & heart surgery
    • Diabetes & endocrinology
    • Ear, nose, & throat
    • Gastroenterology & GI Surgery
    • Geriatrics
    • Gynecology
    • Neurology & neurosurgery
    • Orthopedics
    • Pulmonology & lung surgery;
    • Rehabilitation
    • Urology

    To achieve a rating in a specific specialty, hospitals had to meet a volume/discharge requirement that varied by specialty, or—if a hospital did not meet the volume/discharge requirement—hospitals had to have received nominations from at least 1% of the specialists responding to the reputational surveys over the past three years.

    According to U.S. News, 1,880 hospitals were eligible for consideration among the 12 data-driven specialties. U.S. News then scored eligible facilities based on four factors (note that cardiology & heart surgery, neurology & neurosurgery, and rehabilitation had slightly different methodologies, detailed below):

    • Outcomes, measured by risk-adjusted mortality (37.5%)
    • Structure of hospital resources directly related to patient care (30%)
    • Process of delivering patient care/expert opinion (27.5%)
    • Patient experience (5%)

    Cardiology & heart surgery programs and neurology & neurosurgery programs were also judged on a fifth factor: public transparency.

    For cardiology & heart surgery programs, public transparency was weighted at 3% and was measured by whether the programs publicly reported quality metrics through American College of Cardiology and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons websites. Process/expert opinion was weighted at 24.5%.

    For neurology & neurosurgery programs, public transparency was weighted at 2% and was measured by whether the programs reported on certain stroke care metrics via the American Heart Association's Get With The Guidelines stroke quality improvement program. Process/expert opinion was weighted at 25.5%.

    For rehabilitation programs, patient experience was not a factor. Instead, process/expert opinion was weighted at 55%, structure was weighted at 25%, and outcomes were weighted at 20%.

    Honor Roll

    U.S. News recognized 20 facilities on an "Honor Roll." According to U.S. News, the facilities on the list demonstrated "exceptional treatment" in several areas. The honor roll awardees were, in order:

    1. Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minn.)
    2. Cleveland Clinic (Cleveland)
    3. UCLA Medical Center (Los Angeles)
    4. Johns Hopkins Hospital (Baltimore)
    5. Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston)
    6. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles)
    7. New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia and Cornell (New York)
    8. NYU Langone Hospitals (New York)
    9. UCSF Medical Center (San Francisco)
    10. Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Chicago)
    11. University of Michigan Hospitals-Michigan Medicine (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
    12. Stanford Health Care-Stanford Hospital (Palo Alto, Calif.)
    13. Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian (Philadelphia)
    14. Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston)
    15. Mayo Clinic-Phoenix (Phoenix)
    16. Houston Methodist Hospital (Houston)
    17. Barnes-Jewish Hospital (St. Louis)
    18. Mount Sinai Hospital (New York)
    19. Rush University Medical Center (Chicago)
    20. Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Nashville, Tenn.)

    (U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings, 7/27; U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals methodology, accessed 7/27; U.S. News & World Report FAQ, 7/27)

    Cheat sheets: How hospital quality ratings work

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    Download our newly updated cheat sheets for easy-to-read summaries of some of the most widely promoted hospital rating programs, including:

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