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The Best Hospitals in Central MA

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Two Central Mass. hospitals have just been named by US News & World Report as top-performing hospitals, in its just-released 2013 Best Regional Hospitals Rankings. http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals

Tops in the region: UMass Memorial Medical Center

UMass Memorial Medical Center took top honors in the region in the highly-publicized ranking of more than 4,800 hospitals nationwide, ranking highest among the Worcester metropolitan area's 12 hospitals as well as #14 among the state's 115 hospitals. The 700-bed general medical, surgical, and teaching hospital was cited for High Performance by US News on 7 Adult Specialties: Cancer, Gastroenterology, Nephrology, Urology, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Gynecology, and Pulmonology. 

US News based its analysis of UMass Memorial Medical Center on 42,112 admissions in the latest year for which data are available. The hospital performed 13,138 annual inpatient and 17,936 outpatient surgeries. Its emergency room had 137,795 visits.

What the patients thought

Also included in US News rankings--the results of a patient satisfaction survey. The questionnaire, created by the federal government and utilized by almost 4,000 hospitals nationwide, revealed that at UMass Memorial, 66% of patients rated the hospital "highest or very high" (the state average for MA was two points higher, at 68%). When it came to recommending the hospital to friends and family, 75% said definitely, two points above the state average of 73%.

Milford Regional Medical Center

Top 20 in MA: Milford Regional Medical Center

This 121-bed hospital in Milford, also a general medical and surgical hospital, was ranked #19 in MA and singled out by US News for its High-Performing results in Pulmonology. Milford Regional is clearly appreciated by its patients, scoring a very high 81% on whether patients would recommend the hospital to friends or family. http://www.milfordregional.org

Best in MA

As Massachusetts residents know, the healthcare standards are high in the Bay State, and hospital performance is no exception. Of just more than 110 hospitals statewide, 12 were nationally ranked by US News (and another 12, including UMass Memorial and Milford Regional, met standards for strong performance within the state).

The Top 10 Best Hospitals in MA for 2012-13 are:

Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston
South Shore Hospital, South Weymouth
Baystate Medical Center, Springfield
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston
Lahey Clinic, Burlington
New England Baptist Hospital, Boston
Austen Riggs Center, Stockbridge
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston

How they got the rankings

US News applies the same methodology behind the 2012-13 Best Hospitals national rankings to recognize Best Regional Hospitals. Now in its 23rd year, "Best Hospitals' central mission remains unchanged," according to US News, "to help those who need an unusual degree of skilled inpatient care decide where to get it, especially when there's time to make a choice."

To be nationally ranked, a hospital must excel across a range of tough cases within a given specialty. For example, a hospital nationally ranked in cardiology and heart surgery—one of 16 specialties in which U.S. News evaluates medical centers—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. "Most hospitals would decline to perform major surgery on such elderly patients, as they should if they aren't up to speed on the special techniques and precautions involved and don't see many such patients," according to US News. "A hospital ranked in gastroenterology can offer the most appropriate care to a patient whose severe inflammatory bowel disease flares up. At hospitals ranked in neurology and neurosurgery, surgeons face more spinal tumors in a couple of weeks than most community hospitals see in a year."

This year, only 148 of the 4,793 hospitals reviewed nationwide met such criteria and performed well enough to rank in even one specialty. And of the 148, just 17 qualified for a spot on the Honor Roll by ranking at or near the top in six or more specialties.

For more on the methodology, go here


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