Hopkins again tops list of best hospitals in nation

It's No. 1 in news magazine survey 12 years in a row

July 13, 2002|By Jonathan Bor | Jonathan Bor,SUN STAFF

Despite a difficult year in which federal regulators forced an overhaul of research safety procedures, Johns Hopkins Hospital has topped the list of the nation's best hospitals for the 12th straight year in a magazine's annual rankings.

The rankings, to be published in next week's issue of U.S. News & World Report, brought expressions of pride and relief yesterday at Hopkins, where leaders greeted employees reporting for work and a jazz ensemble played at the main entrance.

"This is a reaffirmation that we're doing well among our peers," said hospital President Ronald R. Peterson, noting that a hospital's reputation weighs heavily in the ratings. "We're proud of the fact that we have some staying power and the brand name Johns Hopkins continues to ring true."

Johns Hopkins led the magazine's "honor roll" by ranking first in four specialties -- urology, ophthalmology, gynecology, and ear, nose and throat -- and by rating high in 12 other specialties. The list was released yesterday on the U.S. News Web site.

Hopkins was followed by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.; the Cleveland Clinic; Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston; and the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Though Hopkins was the only Baltimore-area facility to make the list of best hospitals overall, five others were ranked high in particular specialties.

Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital in Towson was 10th in psychiatry; James Lawrence Kernan Hospital (part of the University of Maryland Medical System) was 23rd in rheumatology; University of Maryland Medical Center was 29th in kidney disease; St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson was 33rd in orthopedics; and Sinai Hospital was 49th in cardiology and heart surgery.

To arrive at the rankings, the magazine sifted through data for close to 2,000 hospitals that are affiliated with medical schools. Each institution received a score that factored in reputation, mortality rates, nurse-patient ratios and the availability of services such as hospice and palliative care.

In gauging reputation, the magazine asked 180 randomly selected physicians to list up to five hospitals they considered best in their specialties.

Hopkins' score -- and its margin over Mayo Clinic -- remained unchanged this year despite the widely publicized death of a healthy woman in a research study in June of last year and the temporary suspension of human experiments.

The fact that the hospital did not slip in the rankings must mean that its reputation did not suffer in the eyes of doctors who participated in the poll, said "Best Hospitals" editor Avery Comarow. Even a small decline in its reputation would have affected its overall score and possibly its position on the list.

"I think the kinds of doctors who end up responding to our survey know that no one is immune from horrible headlines or sins of omission or commission," Comarow said.

Top hospitals

1. Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore

2. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

3. Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland

4. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

5. UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles

6. Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.

7. University of California, San Francisco Medical Center

8. University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor

9. Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis

10. Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston

11. University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle

12. New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York

13. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

14. Stanford University Hospital, Stanford, Calif.

15. University of Chicago Hospital

16. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

17. Vanderbilt University Hospital and Clinic, Nashville, Tenn.

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