WASHINGTON, March 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. News Media Group today dramatically expanded its Best Hospitals rankings with the introduction of rankings in 52 U.S. metropolitan areas, available online at www.usnews.com/hospitals. The new rankings recognize more than 600 hospitals in or near major cities with a record of high performance in key medical specialties, including 132 of the 152 hospitals already identified by U.S. News as the best in the nation.
The new metro area rankings are aimed mostly at consumers whose care may not demand the special expertise found only at a nationally ranked Best Hospital. Patients and their families now will have a far better chance of finding a U.S. News-ranked hospital in their health insurance network and might not have to travel to get care at a high-performing hospital.
"These are hospitals capable of providing first-rate care for the majority of patients, even for those with serious conditions or who need demanding procedures," says Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow. "For most medical problems, the new Best Hospitals metro rankings can tell you which hospitals are worth considering if you live in or near a major metro area."
U.S. News created Best Hospitals more than 20 years ago to identify facilities exceptionally skilled in handling the most difficult cases, such as brain tumors typically considered inoperable and delicate pancreatic procedures. Just the 152 previously recognized medical centers—barely 3 percent of the nation's nearly 5,000 hospitals—meet that standard in one or more specialties, and of those, only 14 demonstrate such across-the-board excellence that they have earned a place on the U.S. News Best Hospitals Honor Roll.
In the metro area rankings, nationally ranked Best Hospitals are at the top because of their extraordinary expertise. The other top hospitals in a metro area are ranked by the number of specialties in which they outperformed most hospitals nationwide.
Using the same data that produced the 2010-11 national rankings, U.S. News reviewed all hospitals nationwide that met certain stringent standards for patient volume and other important benchmarks. From that group of hospitals, U.S. News then selected facilities that scored in the top 25 percent in at least one of 16 medical specialties and ranked those located in metro areas with a population of 1 million or more.
The metro area rankings will be updated in July, and at the same time the 2011-12 national rankings will be published online.
The U.S. News Media Group is a multi-platform, digital publisher of news and analysis, which includes the digital-only U.S. News Weekly magazine, www.usnews.com, and www.rankingsandreviews.com. Focusing on Health, Money, Education, and Public Service/Opinion, the U.S. News Media Group has earned a reputation as the leading provider of service news and information that improves the quality of life of its readers. The U.S. News Media Group's signature franchise includes its News You Can Use® brand of journalism and its "Best"series of consumer guides that include rankings of colleges, graduate schools, hospitals, mutual funds, health plans, and more.