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The hype over hospital rankings

The New York Times, July 29, 2013
Last week U.S. News and World Report released its annual list of "Best Hospitals." Web sites are being updated to celebrate victories. (Johns Hopkins ranks No. 1!) Magazines will be plump with advertising. (NewYork-Presbyterian is first in New York and tied for seventh nationally!) And, because I am a reporter covering health care, my in-box is accumulating e-mails from the "Honor Roll" of the Top 18 hospitals. But what does this annual exercise mean for patients? And what does it say about American health care? After all, Harvard and Princeton, which tied for No. 1 in the magazine's 2013 Top 10 national universities list, didn't take out ads to proclaim their triumph; they will fill their classrooms no matter.