Healthcare News & Insights

U.S. News & World Report releases 2015-16 Best Hospitals list

Hospitals may want to check out the annual “Best Hospitals” rankings from U.S. News & World Report. The newly updated list contains a few changes that may affect where your facility falls this year. 

In the past, the Best Hospitals list placed a significant focus on complex care, with the rationale that patients who’d be undergoing more complicated procedures would want rankings to help them make informed decisions, according to U.S. News & World Report.

And the national Best Hospitals list still ranks facilities based on their performance when it comes to providing care for cancer, cardiology, orthopedics and other specialties.

This year Massachusetts General Hospital ranked highest, followed by the Mayo Clinic. Johns Hopkins Hospital and UCLA Medical Center tied for third, and the Cleveland Clinic was fifth.

Rounding out the top 10 were Brigham and Women’s Hospital, New York-Presbyterian University Hospital, UCSF Medical Center, Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian and Barnes Jewish Hospital/Washington University.

A total of 137 facilities were nationally ranked in at least one specialty. And that represents less than 3% of all hospitals in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Regional rankings differ

While these hospitals achieved their national rankings due to providing outstanding complex care, this year’s Best Regional Hospitals list ratings were calculated using an entirely different rationale.

Only part of a hospital’s regional rating was influenced by its national ranking for specialty care. The bulk of its score came from how well it performed in five areas of “common care,” or surgeries and procedures many patients receive every day.

The five common care areas evaluated are:

  • hip replacement surgery
  • knee replacement surgery
  • heart bypass surgery
  • heart failure, and
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

With the change to the ratings, over 200 of the Best Regional Hospitals (out of 520 regionally ranked facilities) made the list solely because of their excellent performance when providing common care to patients.

Many of these hospitals wouldn’t have otherwise been recognized by U.S. News & World Report. They often place more of their effort on common care, while referring patients who need more specialized care to another institution that would better suit their needs.

Implications for hospitals

This expansion of the rankings system could give hospitals a new opportunity to draw in new patients or retain the patients they have.

And because facilities are facing increased scrutiny for their performance with more common procedures like joint replacements (especially since bundled payments are looming), making the list is a good sign hospitals are going in the right direction.

If your facility didn’t make the cut, it’s an opportunity to look at some of the hospitals that did and get new ideas for strategies to improve patient care in these five critical areas.

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