U.S. News & World Report Names Best Hospitals of 2017–2018

John Commins, August 8, 2017

U.S. News & World Report’s widely read hospital rankings, now in their 28th year, compare more than 4,500 hospitals and medical centers nationwide in 25 specialties, procedures and conditions.

For the second straight year, the Mayo Clinic sits atop the “Honor Roll” of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals.

The Honor Roll is awarded to 20 hospitals that demonstrate high-level care in multiple areas, the magazine said. After Mayo, the other prestigious hospitals and medical centers played musical chairs with the rankings from previous years. Cleveland Clinic held steady in the No. 2 spot, the same as last year, while Mass General swapped places with Johns Hopkins Hospital, falling from No. 3 in 2016-17 to No. 4 this year.

The U.S. News hospital rankings, while often derided by healthcare industry insiders, hospital executives, and clinicians as simplistic and flawed, are nonetheless widely read by those same healthcare industry insiders, hospital executives, and clinicians. Each year, when the list is released, it triggers a flurry of emails from the winning hospitals. U.S. News allows hospitals to post the rankings on their websites, for a fee.   

Related: Why Hospital Rankings Are So Complicated

“Covering nearly every hospital in every U.S. community, U.S. News offers deep, rich data that patients can use to help them make informed decisions about where to receive surgical or medical care,” Ben Harder, managing editor and chief of health analysis at U.S. News, said in a media release announcing this year's list. “We know outcomes matter most, which is why U.S. News is committed to publishing as much data as possible on patient outcomes.”

The University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers in Ann Arbor made the biggest leap on the Honor Roll this year, bounding up to No. 6 from No. 18 in 2016. NYU Langone Medical Center saw the biggest drop, falling from No. 10 in 2016 to No. 19 this year.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia and Mayo Clinic Phoenix were new to the Honor Roll in 2017, ranking No. 16 and No. 20, respectively. Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, which ranked No. 13 in 2016, and Houston Methodist, which ranked No. 19 last year, did not crack the Top 20 this year. Nationally, 152 hospitals were ranked in at least one specialty this year.

Related: Hospital Rankings Contradictory, Cryptic, Confusing

Here’s the 2017-18 Best Hospitals Honor Roll. The numbers in parentheses are the 2016-17 rankings.

1. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. (1)

2. Cleveland Clinic. (2)

3. Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore. (4)

4. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. (3)

5. UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco. (7)

6. University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, Ann Arbor. (18)

7. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles. (5)

8. New York-Presbyterian Hospital. (8)

9. Stanford Health Care-Stanford Hospital, Stanford, CA. (14)

10. Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian, Philadelphia. (9_

11. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles. (17)

12. Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis. (11)

13. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago. (8)

14. UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, Pittsburgh. (12)

15. University of Colorado Hospital, Aurora (20)

16. Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Philadelphia.

17. Duke University Hospital, Durham, NC. (16)

18. Mount Sinai Hospital, NY.  (15)

19. NYU Langone Medical Center, NY. (10)

20. Mayo Clinic Phoenix, AZ.  

U.S. News bases its rankings on measures that include risk-adjusted survival and readmission rates, volume, patient experience, patient safety and quality of nursing, and other care-related indicators. This year’s findings rely upon five years of Medicare data covering more than 60 million hospitalizations. Findings in previous years relied on only three-years of data. U.S. News said it adjusted its measures to account for hospitals that treat higher numbers of low-income patients, or that take on high-risk cases transferred from other hospitals. The magazine also refined how it measures volume to improve comparability among hospitals.

Top Hospitals in Specialties

In the specialty rankings, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center ranked No. 1 in cancer, the Cleveland Clinic is No. 1 in cardiology & heart surgery and Hospital for Special Surgery is No. 1 in orthopedics. 

Cardiology & Heart Surgery

1. Cleveland Clinic.

2. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

3. New York-Presbyterian Hospital, NY.

4. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles

5. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

Cancer

1. University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.

2. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NY.

3. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

4. Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, Boston.

5. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance/University of Washington Medical Center.

Orthopedics

1. Hospital for Special Surgery, NY.

2. Mayo Clinic.

3. Cleveland Clinic.

4. Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Philadelphia.

5. Rush University Medical Center, Chicago.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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