July 17, 2009

Vanderbilt again makes U.S. News ‘honor roll’

Vanderbilt again makes U.S. News ‘honor roll’

Vanderbilt Medical Center maintained its honor roll status for the second straight year by placing 16th in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's 2009-10 publication of America's Best Hospitals, released today.

Less than two-fifths of one percent (21) of the 4,861 hospitals analyzed made the honor roll; VMC has now earned the top-tier recognition for hospitals four times since the magazine began its annual rankings issue 20 years ago.

To be eligible for the honor roll an institution is required to have high rankings in at least six specialties. Nine VMC specialty programs ranked among the top 50 in their respective fields, including Kidney (9), Urology (10), Cancer (13), Diabetes and Endocrine Disorders (15), Gynecology (16), Ear, Nose and Throat (16), Heart and Heart Surgery (17), Respiratory Disorders (18) and Digestive Disorders (32).

“I am thrilled to once again have this Medical Center recognized as one of the very best in America,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

“This recognition comes with a profound responsibility to offer people the most advanced and compassionate care available, during the most critical moments of their lives. The Vanderbilt team is prepared for those responsibilities and demonstrates every day that this recognition is richly deserved,” Balser added.

The Heart and Heart Surgery specialty had the biggest advance and climbed six spots from last year's ranking, from 23 to 17. Cancer also moved up, and is now 13th in the country. Digestive Disorders is a new addition to the top 50.

No other Tennessee hospital made the list in any category.

“It is wonderful for all of us to have VUMC recognized for the superb work the staff of this Medical Center does to serve our patients,” said C. Wright Pinson, M.D., M.B.A., deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs and senior associate dean for Clinical Affairs. “We congratulate those specialties that were highly ranked in the process.”

Johns Hopkins Hospital led the U.S. News honor roll, followed by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., UCLA Medical Center, Cleveland Clinic and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Vanderbilt was ranked just ahead of NYU Medical Center and Yale-New Haven Hospital (17) and Mount Sinai Medical Center (19)

Only 174 medical centers nationwide were ranked among the 16 specialty categories designated by the magazine. Full data is available online for the remaining 1,500 unranked hospitals.

Rankings in 12 of the 16 specialties are predominantly driven by hard data.

There are four components: reputation, death rate, patient safety (new this year), and care-related factors such as nursing and patient services. In these 12 specialties, hospitals have to pass through several gates to be ranked and considered a Best Hospital.

“When the stakes are high, you want the best care you can get for someone close to you,” said Avery Comarow, U.S. News health rankings editor. “These are hospitals that are used to getting the sickest patients.”

In the four other specialties — Ophthalmology, Psychiatry, Rehabilitation and Rheumatology — ranking is based solely on nominations from the three most recent physician surveys.

RTI International, Research Triangle Park, N.C., compiled all hospital data and generated the 2009 rankings on behalf of U.S. News.

The “America's Best Hospitals” 2009-10 edition is accessible online at www.usnews.com/besthospitals and is scheduled to hit newsstands Tuesday, July 21.

As was reported last month, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt was ranked among the top 25 in the nation in six pediatric specialties by U.S. News in the magazine's annual listing of America's Best Children's Hospitals.

Children's Hospital was ranked No. 6 in Urology; No. 13 in Neonatology; No. 21 in Digestive Disorders; No. 22 in Orthopaedics; No. 23 in Heart and Heart Surgery; and No. 25 in Cancer.