Resource Library

How Hospital Quality Ratings Work

    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 Best Hospitals

    Healthgrades publishes its list of the best 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 11 specialty areas. 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 250 'Best Hospitals' in 2022, according to Healthgrades

    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 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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