Mass General bests Johns Hopkins, ranks 1st in U.S.

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U.S. News & World Report has released its list of the best hospitals for 2012-13, and for the first time in more than two decades, there’s a new provider sitting atop the rankings.

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston leads U.S. News’ Hospital Honor Role, taking the spot which had been held by Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for 21 years. The Honor Roll recognized 17 hospitals that are near the top of the rankings for at least six individual specialties. Rounding out the top five after MGH and Johns Hopkins were Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., Cleveland Clinic and Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Specialty rankings each included up to 50 medical centers, according to U.S. News. Cleveland Clinic topped the cardiology & heart surgery list, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston was tabbed as the top-ranked hospital in the cancer category, and Johns Hopkins was number one for neurology & neurosurgery.

To be eligible for ranking in any of the 12 data-dependent specialties, a hospital has to meet at least one of four criteria: It has to be a teaching hospital, or be affiliated with a medical school, or have at least 200 beds, or have at least 100 beds and offer at least four of eight specific medical technologies, such as a PET/CT scanner and certain precise radiation therapies, according to U.S. News. This year a total of 2,227 hospitals qualified based on these criteria.

More than 700 hospitals were recognized in the regional rankings. U.S News noted that while some regions, such as the New York metropolitan area, were filled with high-ranking regional facilities, other areas had few such medical centers. Ten states, including Wyoming, Montana, and New Jersey, had no major metropolitan areas with a ranked hospital.

Rankings were based on measures of hospital performance encompassed within four weighted categories:

  • Survival score (32.5 percent of overall hospital score): Compares the number of Medicare inpatients with certain conditions who died within 30 days of admission with the number expected to die given illness severity.
  • Reputation (32.5 percent): Reputational score based on the three-year average of an annual survey of 200 physicians within each specialty.
  • Patient safety (5 percent): Measures which hospitals are leading the way in preventing harmful medical errors.
  • Other care-related indicators (30 percent): Includes measures of nurse staffing, technology and others shown to be related to quality of care.

Rankings were produced by RTI International, a Research Triangle Park, N.C.-based organization, according to U.S. News. The full rankings can be found here.