Two Chicago hospitals — Northwestern Memorial and Rush University Medical Center — are again among the nation’s top 20, according to US News & World Report.
Northwestern was named the ninth best hospital in the nation, up one spot from 10th last year, and the best facility in Illinois for the 11th consecutive year. Rush won the title of 20th best hospital in the United States, up from 19th last year. Rush was named the No. 2 best hospital in Illinois.
A number of Illinois hospitals also ranked well, but did not make the top 20 nationally. University of Chicago Medical Center ranked third in the state; NorthShore University HealthSystem ranked fourth; and Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn round out the top five in Illinois. NorthShore’s ranking included four of its hospitals combined, in Evanston, Glenview, Skokie and Highland Park, as they all share a Medicare ID.
The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Streeterville has again been ranked the top rehabilitation hospital in the nation for the 32nd consecutive time.
US News rates hospitals based on their performance in 15 specialties, such as urology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, and 20 surgeries and conditions. US News rates hospital performance by examining Medicare data, patient satisfaction surveys and the American Hospital Association’s annual survey, among other sources. It also takes into account reputation, as measured by opinion polls of licensed 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 among healthcare providers. Hospitals often tout high ratings in their advertising to attract more patients.
Experts say rankings and ratings can be important tools for patients, along with other factors such as doctor referrals and insurance coverage, when deciding where to receive care.
“I think it’s just a recognition of the great work of those who serve patients,” Dr. James Adams, chief medical officer and senior vice president of Northwestern Medicine, said of the top honors. from Northwestern again this year.
He said the past two years have been difficult, with the pandemic straining healthcare workers. “But the quest to improve, to innovate, to deliver quality care every day is part of the DNA of the organization and the people who work here,” he said.
Rush is also proud to once again be among the top 20 in the nation, especially given the stresses of the pandemic, said Dr. Paul Casey, chief medical officer of Rush University Medical Center.
“The last two years have been so difficult in healthcare in general, and I think the focus on quality and safety is what has allowed us to accomplish and achieve what we have achieved in this final accolade,” Casey said.
Rush slipped one spot nationally, from 19th last year to 20th this year, with Casey noting that performance differences between some of the top 20 hospitals are often very small.
He also said it can be difficult for a hospital like Rush to rank in the top 10 nationally, given that reputation is one of the metrics used. Rush may not have the same national recognition as some other hospitals.
That, however, could change given the attention Rush has received from national media and doctors across the country during the pandemic, Rush spokesman Tobin Klinger said. At the start of the pandemic, Rush was treating many of the state’s COVID-19 patients, in part because of its unique building design, which allowed it to expand its intensive care beds and emergency departments. During the first wave of COVID-19, Rush took about 1,000 patients transferred from other area hospitals, Casey said.
Casey also noted that this year, 10 of Rush’s specialties ranked among the top 50 in the country, with many ranking higher than last year. Two Rush specialties rank among the top 10 in the country, with neurology and neurosurgery ranking fourth and orthopedics ranking fifth.
Northwestern Memorial also had 10 specialties in the top 50 nationally, including six in the top 10 nationwide, including cancer; cardiology and heart surgery; diabetes and endocrinology; gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery; geriatrics; and neurology and neurosurgery.
A number of organizations rank and rate hospitals each year, including US News, the Leapfrog Group, and Medicare — sometimes with different results, given that they use different methodologies. For example, Leapfrog gave Northwestern Memorial a grade of C in its most recent security ratings.
Nationally, US News ranked the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and NYU Langone Hospitals in New York as the top three in the nation, respectively.