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Top Best Hospitals and What Makes Them Great

By Yamileth Medina

A recent survey by U.S. News and World Report ranks the top hospitals in the United States. Hospitals included in major health insurance companies' plans will see more customers and revenue than those out-of-network. Other elements of a high-quality hospital are the availability of advanced medical technology, its experience in certain specialties, the quality and ratio of nursing staff, and other patient services. Finally, top hospitals take great care to keep their patients as safe as possible. After all, nobody--especially an insurer--wants to pay to fix another hospital's mistakes.
So which hospitals are the best in America, and why? Mayo Clinic was also #1 hospital on their inaugural Best Hospitals list in 1990.

# California makes its highest entry on the Best Hospitals list with Los Angeles' Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Other top 5 specialties include psychiatry, rheumatology, ophthamology (through its Jules Stein Eye Institute), and digestive disorders.
It's also well-respected for its work in urology, digestive disorders, and rheumatology.

# Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital is #1 in psychiatry and #2 in diabetes and endocrine disorders. The former rank is based on the hospital's reputation of treating mental health disorders, since only a small fraction of patients die as a direct result of psychiatric treatment. However, mental health can interact with and interfere with the treatment of physical health issues, and effective treatment has a great impact on patients' quality of life.

# New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell in New York City tied with Massachusetts General in its reputation for treating psychiatry patients. The majority of Presbyterian's specialties are solidly ranked in the top 10 of American hospitals by U.S. News.

# The University of California San Francisco Medical Center is highlighted for its success in gynecology (#5 rank), as well as in diabetes and endocrine disorders and neurology and neurosurgery.

# Located in Philadelphia, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is top ten in treating respiratory disorders; ear, nose, and throat; and heart surgery.

# In St. Louis, Missouri, Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University is renowned for its treatment of kidney disorders.

# Another Boston hospital, Brigham and Women's Hospital, also received high marks. Living up to its name (and implied focus on female health), it's the #1 ranked hospital for gynecology.

Bonus: Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina tied for tenth place on the U.S. News Best Hospitals list. It's in the top 10 hospitals for several specialties, including cancer and geriatric care. Some facilities might struggle with efficiency if an expansion of the insured results in more hospital visitors. If a government-run public option passes, reimbursements to hospitals will likely decrease from what they currently receive from HMOs and PPOs. Don't worry if none of these hospitals are in your area. Despite occasional news reports of hospital billing errors, battles with health insurance, and tragic medical mistakes, hospitals in America are highly regulated, and most have clean facilities and caring, competent staff.

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