The outbreak of the novel coronavirus upended many aspects of life, but perhaps none as much as health care. Doctors offices closed or switched to telehealth. Vaccine makers began racing to create a shot that could end the pandemic. And to keep patients and heroic health care workers safe from infection, many hospitals now require everyone setting foot inside to wear a mask.
Yet despite such changes, this remains constant: When people get sick, they need care. Even before COVID-19 struck, more than 33 million people in the U.S. required treatment in a hospital each year. Strokes, heart attacks and bone fractures haven’t ceased. And so-called “elective” care can’t be delayed forever.
With more than 6,000 hospitals across the U.S., many patients face a choice about where they get treated. And which hospital they choose matters. Some medical centers have honed impressive expertise in complex specialty care, such as what’s involved in transplanting a heart. Others struggle with even relative basic procedures like knee replacement.
To help readers narrow their search for a hospital that matches their needs, U.S. News rates hospitals in 10 bellwether procedures and conditions such as colon cancer surgery, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart bypass surgery. And it ranks hospitals in 16 areas of specialty care. These ratings and rankings are based on each hospital’s patient outcomes — that is, how well patients have fared after treatment — as well as other factors that matter to patients, like the quality of their experience and whether the hospital is adequately staffed.
U.S. News also ranks hospitals in each state and nearly 100 metro areas, to make it easy for everyone to find excellent care close to home and in their insurance network. To be counted among this year’s 563 Best Regional Hospitals, a hospital had to outperform in at least three of the procedures, conditions and specialties U.S. News evaluates. While urban areas around New York City, Los Angeles and greater Chicago have the greatest concentrations of top medical centers, Best Regional Hospitals can also be found in the Florida Panhandle, Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region, the Ozarks of Arkansas, and scores of other urban and rural areas.
The Best Hospitals Honor Roll highlights 20 hospitals that excel across most or all types of care evaluated by U.S. News. Hospitals received points if they were nationally ranked in the 16 specialties — the more specialties and the higher their rank, the more points they got — and if they were rated high performing in any of the 10 procedures and conditions. The top point-scorers made the Honor Roll.
U.S. News 2020-21 Best Hospitals Honor Roll
— 1. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
— 2. Cleveland Clinic
— 3. Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore
— 4 (tie). New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia and Cornell, New York
— 4 (tie). UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles
— 6. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
— 7. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles
— 8. UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco
— 9. NYU Langone Hospitals, New York
— 10. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago
— 11. University of Michigan Hospitals-Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor
— 12. Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston
— 13. Stanford Health Care-Stanford Hospital, Stanford, California
— 14. Mount Sinai Hospital, New York
— 15. Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian, Philadelphia
— 16. Mayo Clinic-Phoenix
— 17. Rush University Medical Center, Chicago
— 18 (tie). Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis
— 18 (tie). Keck Hospital of USC, Los Angeles
For most illnesses, patients do not need to go to an Honor Roll hospital, which may require traveling away from home and paying expenses for out-of-network care. All rankings and ratings should be seen as just a starting point for patients who are considering, with input from their doctors, where to seek care. Individual diagnosis, insurance coverage and personal priorities are important factors in making a personal best choice. And with the coronavirus infection rates changing rapidly around the country, current local circumstances may need to be factored in, too.
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2020-21 Best Hospitals Honor Roll and Medical Specialties Rankings originally appeared on usnews.com