U.S. News & World Report released its annual hospital-rankings report on Tuesday, bearing good news for Central Floridians who rely on local hospitals for routine care and surgeries.
Florida Hospital Orlando and Orlando Regional Medical Center improved their statewide rankings, rising to and sharing the fourth place. Also, according to U.S. News calculations of data, they received higher-than-average ratings for common hospital procedures like hip and heart valve surgeries.
Still, both have room for improvement. Neither hospital’s adult specialty programs rose to a high-enough level based on criteria set by U.S. News to be compared and ranked nationally.
In its 28th annual Best Hospitals rankings, the publication compared more than 4,500 medical centers across the nation in 25 procedures, specialties and conditions. The rankings exclude children’s hospitals and VA medical centers.
In national ranking of specialty programs, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center took the top spot in cancer care, while Cleveland Clinic ranked first for cardiology and heart surgery, and Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City ranked first in orthopedics.
U.S. News also provided regional hospital rankings based on state and metro areas.
In Florida, Mayo Clinic Jacksonville retained its statewide first-place ranking from last year, while Tampa General Hospital rose one rank to second place and UF Health Shands Hospital dropped two ranks to third place. All three also have specialty programs that received national rankings by U.S. News.
Florida Hospital Orlando and Orlando Regional Medical Center both ranked first in Orlando and fourth in Florida, improving their statewide placement from last year. Florida hospital rose up two ranks from sixth place and ORMC rose up from 11th place.
The two hospitals also received good ratings in all nine common procedures performed in hospitals, for which overall quality of inpatient care was among the factors taken into account.
Of the 4,400 hospitals evaluated for these common procedures, Florida Hospital Orlando and Orlando Regional Medical Center were two of only 48 hospitals nationwide to receive higher-than-average ratings in all nine categories.
“That indicates that Orlando residents have good options for many of the most common surgical procedures and medical conditions they may need,” said Ben Harder, U.S. News Chief of Health Analysis in an email on Monday.
Neither hospital made it to U.S. News’ national rankings of a dozen adult specialty programs, including cardiology, neurology and rheumatology.
But Harder said that’s not terrible news.
“Our specialty rankings focus on identifying hospitals that excel in caring for especially sick or challenging patients,” he wrote in an email. “In other words, patients whose diagnosis may warrant referral to a hospital outside their community. This sort of care is of a higher level than most patients need, so except in rare circumstances it’s not necessary for patients to look beyond their region’s Best Regional Hospitals.”
Orlando Health did not respond to an e-mail request for comment on Monday. Florida Hospital media team said in an email on Monday that the hospital could not comment on the report until it was made public on Tuesday.
U.S. News’ Best Hospitals rankings are based on publically-available data and other information such as patient and physician surveys. They provide yet another tool and a starting point for curious consumers who want to research their local hospitals. And like most other rankings, they’re not definitive guides.
“Patients still have to do their own research and talk with their doctors,” U.S. News advises consumers on its website.
For instance, the highest-ranking hospitals aren’t always the best choice. Many times, the answer depends on the the type of care patients need.
By the same token, some of the hospitals that didn’t make it to U.S. News lists aren’t necessarily bad hospitals.
“No firm conclusions can be reached about any unrated hospital,” U.S. News says on its website. Those hospitals didn’t treat enough patients to be fully evaluated in the ratings, according to the publisher.
Hospital Compare, The Joint Commission, The Leapfrog Group, Consumer Reports and Healthgrades are some of the other credible resources that provide regular reports on quality and performance of U.S. hospitals.