Two Chicago hospitals — Northwestern Memorial and Rush University Medical Center — are once again among the top 20 in the country, according to US News & World Report.
Northwestern was named the ninth best hospital in the country, up one place from 10th last year, and the top facility in Illinois for the eleventh consecutive year. Rush was named the 20th best hospital in the US, down from 19 last year. Rush was named the No. 2 Best Hospital in Illinois.
A number of Illinois hospitals are also highly ranked, but they are not in the top 20 nationally. University of Chicago Medical Center ranks third in the state; North Shore University Health System ranked fourth; and Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn is one of the top five in Illinois. NorthShore’s ranking included four of its hospitals combined, in Evanston, Glenview, Skokie and Highland Park, because they all share one Medicare ID.
The Shirley Ryan Endurance Laboratory in Streeterville has once again been named the best rehabilitation hospital in the country for the 32nd consecutive time.
US News rates hospitals based on their performance in 15 specialties, such as urology, neurology, neurosurgery, and orthopedics, as well as 20 surgeries and conditions. US News evaluates hospital performance by looking at data from Medicare, patient satisfaction surveys and the American Hospital Association’s annual survey, among other sources. It also takes reputation into account, as measured by surveys of board-certified physicians.
Many hospitals closely monitor their ratings from US News and other organizations, especially in places like the Chicago area where there is a lot of competition between health care providers. Hospitals often promote high marks in their advertisements to attract more patients.
Experts say ratings and ratings can be important tools for patients, along with other factors such as physician referrals and insurance coverage, when choosing where to receive care.
“I think it’s just an appreciation for the great work that those who serve patients are doing,” said Dr. James Adams, chief medical officer and senior vice president at Northwestern Medicine, of Northwestern University’s highest rankings again this year.
He said the past two years have been difficult, as the pandemic has strained health care workers. “But striving to improve, innovate, and deliver great care every day is part of the DNA of the organization and the people who work here,” he said.
Dr. Paul Casey, chief medical officer of Rush University Medical Center, said Rush is also proud to be among the top 20 in the country, especially given the stresses of the pandemic.
“The past few years have been very challenging in healthcare in general, and I believe it is a relentless focus on quality and safety that has allowed us to accomplish and achieve what we have accomplished in this latest honor,” Casey said.
Rush has fallen one place nationally from 19 last year to 20 this year, with Casey noting that the differences in performance between some of the top 20 hospitals are often quite small.
He also said it could be difficult for a hospital like Rush to break into the top 10 nationally, given that reputation is one of the procedures used. Rush may not have the same well-known national name as some other hospitals.
That, however, may change given the attention Rush has received from national media and doctors around the country during the pandemic, said Rush spokesman Tobin Klinger. Early in the pandemic, Rush was treating many of the state’s COVID-19 patients in part because of the building’s unique design, which allowed it to expand intensive care beds and emergency services. During the first wave of COVID-19, Casey said, Rush transferred about 1,000 patients from other hospitals.
Casey also noted that this year 10 of Rush’s majors ranked in the top 50 in the country, with many of them ranking higher than they did last year. Two of Rush’s specialties are ranked among the top 10 in the country, with neurology and neurosurgery ranked fourth, and orthopedics ranked fifth.
Northwestern Memorial also had 10 majors in the top 50 nationally, and six in the top 10 in the country, including cancer. Cardiology and cardiac surgery. Diabetes and endocrinology. Gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery. geriatrics. and neurosurgery.
A number of organizations rank and evaluate hospitals each year, including US News, Leapfrog Group, and Medicare—sometimes with different results, because they use different methodologies. For example, the Leapfrog Northwestern Memorial gave a grade of C in the latest safety ratings.
Nationally, US News ranked Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and NYU Langone Hospitals in New York, as the top three hospitals in the country, respectively.