Western providers largely missing from U.S. News top-ranked heart hospitals

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U.S News and World Report issued its much-publicized hospital rankings, including the 50 top-ranked hospitals for cardiology and heart surgery, and outside of two hospitals in Los Angeles, no other Western facilities made it into the top 30.

Now in its 23rd year of issuing Best Hospitals, the publication said that more than 700 hospitals are listed under the specialty cardiology and heart surgery. “All are experienced in treating difficult cases—a hospital is listed only if at least 1,308 inpatients in need of a high level of expertise in this specialty were treated there in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The top 50 hospitals are ranked, based on score.”

Below are the top 20 hospitals:

  1. Cleveland Clinic (100);
  2. Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., (86);
  3. Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore (74.9);
  4. New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell in New York City (73.4);
  5. Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston (71.6);
  6. Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital in Houston (71.1);
  7. Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., (70.7);
  8. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles (70.5);
  9. Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston (70.1);
  10. Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City (66.9);
  11. St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, N.Y., (66.3);
  12. Methodist Hospital in Houston (63.3);
  13. Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University in St. Louis (62.7);
  14. NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City (62.6);
  15. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (62.2);
  16. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles (61.9);
  17. Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago (61.8);
  18. Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago (61.6);
  19. Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis (59.6); and
  20. Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans (59.1).

In its explanation of how the hospitals were ranked, Avery Comarow wrote that a hospital nationally ranked in cardiology and heart surgery “can be expected to have doctors with the talent and experience to replace a faulty heart valve in a patient well into his or her 90s.”

Also, to be eligible for ranking in any of the 12 data-dependent specialties, a hospital first has to satisfy at least one of four criteria: It has to be a teaching hospital, or be affiliated with a medical school, or have at least 200 beds, or have at least 100 beds and offer at least four of eight specific medical technologies, such as a PET/CT scanner and certain radiation therapies, according to Comarow. This year a total of 2,227 hospitals, or 46 percent, qualified under this criterion.

The hospitals next have to meet a volume requirement to be eligible in a particular specialty, wrote Comarow. The number differs for each specialty. For 2012 to 2013 the minimum number of heart patients, for example, was set at 1,308, of whom at least 500 had to have had a surgical procedure. Also, each candidate in the 12 data-driven rankings received a U.S. News score from 0 to 100 that was based on four elements: reputation, patient survival, patient safety and care-related factors such as nursing and patient services.

The entire list can be found on the publication’s website