U.S. News rankings reward high-profile hospitals, control for social factors

In the heat of controversy over the reliability of Medicare’s star ratings, U.S. News & World Report today released its own rankings of the nation’s hospitals.

In a marked departure from the Medicare ratings, the nation’s highest-profile hospitals fared well in the rankings. Rochester, Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic topped the publication’s hospital “Honor Roll." The Cleveland Clinic came in second, followed by Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

The publication also recognized 504 Best Regional Hospitals, ranking all hospitals that either made its national list in one of 12 specialties or achieved high ratings in four or more of the specialties, conditions or procedures.

Regional hospitals that made the list were concentrated largely in the New York metro area, with New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell ranking number one of 28. Northwestern topped the list of Chicago-area hospitals, while UCLA Medical Center led Los Angeles providers.

U.S. News also made changes to its scoring methodology this year, adding four new measures: colon cancer surgery, lung cancer surgery, aortic valve surgery and abdominal aortic aneurysm repair. Echoing a common criticism of Medicare’s star-ratings system, the publication also adjusted its methodology to account for the socioeconomic makeup of hospitals’ patient populations, ensuring hospitals will not receive lower scores simply because they have a predominantly lower-income patient base.

The new calculations also reward hospitals for voluntarily making key heart surgery and cardiology data public but reduce the weight of hospital reputation in the specialty. In past years, other U.S. News alterations have similarly reduced the weight given to hospitals’ reputations.

- read the announcement
- here’s the Honor Roll
- read the new methodology

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