Mayo Clinic comes in first, the Cleveland Clinic takes the second spot, and Johns Hopkins Hospital sits at number three in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the nation’s hospitals. No real surprise, there. The three have been among the top performing hospitals for decades.
But not every patient can get to the big three or any of the other top 20 hospitals on the magazine’s Best Hospitals Honor Roll. What then? It can be a crapshoot, the magazine suggests. Too many hospitals fail to deliver competent care for what should be rather routine procedures such as uncomplicated heart bypass surgery, hip replacement, and removal of a cancerous section of a colon. In addition, “even fewer hospitals excel at caring for patients with especially challenging or complex diagnoses, for whom the stakes may be a matter of life or death. For those patients, venturing beyond a trusted community hospital to seek care at a truly exceptional medical center, even one farther from home, may be the wisest option.”
Patients and providers should not take too much of a hospital's movement on the list in just one or two years, the magazine warns. “Don’t make too much of year-to-year movements. It takes multiple years of progressive change to know if a hospital is truly improving or worsening.”