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National survey again names University of Chicago Medical Center as one of the best U.S. hospitals

July 16, 2009

John Easton
(773) 702-6241

U.S.News & World Report 2009 Best Hospitals badge

In its annual survey, U.S.News & World Report selected the University of Chicago Medical Center as one of the best hospitals in the United States.

In the 2009 "Best Hospitals" issue (on newsstands July 21), the magazine ranked 11 Medical Center specialties among the top such programs in the country, up from 10 last year.

Eight programs, digestive disorders (#6), endocrinology (#14), cancer (#17), kidney disease (#17), neurology & neurosurgery (#19), ear, nose & throat (#24), heart & heart surgery (#25), and respiratory disorders (#28), were ranked in the top 30 nationwide. Geriatrics (#34), gynecology (#47) and urology (#48) also scored in the top 50. No Illinois hospital was ranked in more specialties.

"When the stakes are high, you want the best care you can get for someone close to you," said Avery Comarow, health-rankings editor for the magazine. "These are hospitals that are used to getting the sickest patients."

The rankings are based on a mathematical formula that takes into account (1) the ratio between actual and expected mortality at a hospital; (2) a group of factors such as available technology, patient/community services, procedure volume and nursing care, including Magnet status; and (3) the institution's reputation based on a poll of 200 specialists in each field, averaged over three years. These specialists are asked to list "the five hospitals they consider best in their specialty for difficult cases, without taking location or expense into account (or naming your own hospital)."

According to U.S. News, out of nearly 5,000 hospitals evaluated, only 174 met that standard in one or more specialties. Most that did are referral centers, which are accustomed to seeing the toughest patients and conducting bench-to-bedside research that advances the state of the art.

In March, the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine was ranked 13th in the U.S.News & World Report "Best Graduate Schools" issue. Over the last five years, Pritzker has been the fastest rising medical school in the top 50.