By Jamison Cocklin
U.S. News & World Report has ranked both St. Elizabeth Health Center and St. Elizabeth Boardman Health Center among Ohio’s best hospitals, giving both high marks in several specialties.
Akron Children’s Hospital, which has a 32-bed inpatient campus and emergency room in Boardman, was nationally ranked in seven pediatric specialties, cancer, diabetes, orthopedics, urology, pulmonology, neurology and nephrology.
The hospital was one of 87 facilities nationwide that made the rankings in at least one of the 10 specialties analyzed for the 2013-2014 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings.
St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown is ranked No. 24 in Ohio. The hospital is listed as high-performing in five specialties: geriatrics, gynecology, nephrology, pulmonology and urology.
St. Elizabeth Boardman Health Center is ranked No. 30 in the state and is recognized as high-performing in pulmonology.
Published annually as a part of its “Best” series of consumer guides that include rankings of colleges, graduate schools and cars and trucks, the latest “Best Hospitals” list pulled data from 4,806 hospitals nationwide by examining each location’s performance across 16 specialties. Within them, patient survival and safety data, the adequacy of nurse staffing levels and other objective data largely determined the rankings.
In most specialties, U.S. News ranks the nation’s top 50 hospitals and recognizes other high-performing hospitals that provide care at nearly the level of their nationally ranked peers.
Shawn Lyden, executive vice president of Akron Children’s Hospital, said its places among this year’s rankings are some of its best ever. The hospital ranked in the top 30 in four specialties, and its department of orthopedics was ranked 22nd. He said it helps the hospital’s national credibility.
“We’ve always, at Akron Children’s Hospital, prided ourselves on the services we provide,” Lyden said. “But we’ve never been too fixated on things like rankings. This is just our national reputation catching up with what we have always thought was great substance.”
Across all 16 specialties, only 147 U.S. hospitals performed well enough to be nationally ranked in one or more. An additional 591 were regional high performers.
“We are especially proud of this recognition,” said Robert Shroder, president and CEO of Humility of Mary Health Partners, which owns and operates both St. Elizabeth locations. “It independently verifies that our hospitals provide a high level of care, eliminating the need for area residents to travel out of town to receive quality care. I have to give credit to our doctors, nurses, support staff and board members for concentrating on quality outcomes for our patients.”
St. Joseph Health Center in Warren, another Humility of Mary Health Partners hospital that was ranked No. 27 in Ohio last year, did not appear in the rankings this year.
The rankings are intended to help consumers find the best inpatient-care facilities in the country, but the publication encourages its readers to conduct their own research and acknowledges that some hospitals better suited for local treatment are not always included on the list.
Karyn Frederick, executive director of the Mahoning County Medical Society, which represents nearly 500 practicing, retired and resident physicians in Mahoning County, said it’s great that local hospitals are included on the list, but she said just because some are not included does not mean they are inadequate, adding that the methodology of the study is like comparing “apples to oranges” in some cases.
Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., is the nation’s top-ranked hospital, according to U.S. News. Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston is second this year, and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is ranked third. Ohio’s top hospital was the Cleveland Clinic, ranked nationally in 14 specialties.
“A hospital that emerges from our analysis as one of the best has much to be proud of,” said Avery Comarow, U.S. News health rankings editor. “Only about 15 percent of hospitals are recognized for their high performance as among their region’s best. Just 3 percent of all hospitals earn a national ranking in any specialty.”