How Hospital Quality Ratings Work

Quick guides to understand rating metrics and methodologies

Download our cheat sheets for summaries on the methodology and metric categories used in some of the biggest hospital quality rating programs.



CMS Overall Star Ratings

CMS publishes hospital quality star ratings on Hospital Compare to help patients choose a hospital based on quality performance.

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Leapfrog Group Top Hospitals

Leapfrog releases its list of top hospitals annually in December.

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Leapfrog Group Hospital Safety Grade

Leapfrog assigns ~2,600 general acute-care hospitals a letter grade from A through F in the spring, then updates these ratings in the fall when hospitals report newer data.

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US News and World Report Best Hospital Rankings

US News releases its list of the best hospitals annually, usually in August.

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US News and World Report Best Children's Hospital Rankings

US News releases its list of the best children's hospitals annually, usually in June.

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Healthgrades Top Hospitals

Healthgrades publishes its list of the top 50, 100, and 250 hospitals annually.

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Healthgrades Specialty Excellence Awards and 100 Best Hospitals for Specialty Care

Healthgrades' "Specialty Excellence Awards" recognizes hospitals that deliver superior patient outcomes within 16 service lines. From each service line recipient list, Healthgrades further recognizes what it ranks as "America's 100 Best Hospitals for Specialty Care," and for the cardiac surgery and vascular surgery service lines, the organization names its top 50 hospitals.

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Healthgrades Patient Safety Ratings and Excellence Awards

Healthgrades publishes patient safety ratings and patient safety excellence awards yearly.

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Healthgrades Outstanding Patient Experience Awards

Healthgrades publishes patient experience ratings and patient experience awards yearly.

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CMS HCAHPS Patient Experience Star Rating

CMS publishes HCAHPS star ratings on Hospital Compare to help patients choose a hospital based on patient experience. HCAHPS Star Ratings are updated every quarter.

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Watson Health 100 Top Hospitals

Watson Health's Top 100 Hospitals Rankings, previously known as the Truven Health Top 100 Hospitals, focuses on individual hospital quality and operational efficiency.

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We also recommend you stay up-to-date on these programs with our Daily Briefing coverage:

The top hospitals for patient safety and experience, according to Healthgrades

CMS just gave 293 hospitals 'five stars.' See how yours fared on our map.

The 250 best hospitals, according to Healthgrades

The 118 best hospitals, according to Leapfrog

Leapfrog grades more than 2,600 hospitals from 'A' to 'F.' How did yours fare?

The 158 best hospitals, according to US News

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